Parivar Pehchan Patra algorithm declares living people dead

Occurred: 2020-

Several thousand welfare beneficiaries in the Indian state of Haryana were denied access to their pensions and other welfare benefits having been wrongfully declared dead by an AI-powered algorithm.

Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) is an algorithmic system that provides Haryana families with an eight-digit unique ID based on income, age, employment, and other data. It is intended to streamline the delivery of welfare services and help reduce fraud by linking different databases together to produce a ‘single source of truth’. Birth, Death and Marriage records are linked to ensure automatic updating of family data.

After 102-year-old Dhuli Chand was forced to put together a mock wedding procession to prove to Haryana officials that he was alive, government data was released revealing that over 300,000 pensions were stopped in the following three years since claimants had been classified 'dead'. 70 percent (44,050) of a smaller sample of 63,353 pensions that were halted were later found to have been flagged incorrectly.

Beneficiaries of subsidised food and other schemes were also excluded because the algorithm made wrong predictions about their incomes or employment, according to Al-Jazeera.

Operator: Haryana citizens
Developer: Government of Haryana
Country: India
Sector: Govt - welfare
Purpose: Assess welfare eligibility  
Technology: Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Accountability; Privacy
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Complaints/appeals