Aadhaar services hit due to software migration

Servers at eSeva centres, meant for Aadhaar services, are down for the last 20 days due to this exercise

Taking her new mobile number and a piece of document providing proof of her new address, V. Rajalakshmi, a senior citizen and resident of Ullagaram, would visit the Common eSeva Centre (CSC) at the Corporation Zonal Office in Puzhuthivakkam, every day. She would approach the functionary at the centre to update the mobile number in her Aadhaar card and also change the address.

And she would be informed by the official concerned that the portal could not be opened as the server was down. This was the stock response she received whenever she visited the centre over last twenty days.

Then, Rajalakshmi decided to take up the matter with a higher official and she was joined by similarly frustrated residents.

The official asked the group to go to any of the other centres located nearby at Madipakkam, Nanganallur, Alandur or Guindy. Those who followed the advice were in for a disappointment.

S. Parthasarathy, a retired BSNL officer, said, “I wanted to update details in my son’s Aadhaar card and I have been visiting the Kodambakkam centre for nearly a week. As my son needed the Aadhaar card proof at the earliest, I went to the Guindy and K.K. Nagar centres too, but in vain, as the server was down at these centres too. When I protested, one of the officials at the centre asked me to approach the centres at Puzhuthivakkam or Nanganallur. Now, I am here for the past three days, but unfortunately, nothing could be done.” Parthasarathy and Rajalakshmi are not alone. Across the city, residents are bearing the brunt of a technical snag that has hit eSeva centres.

The larger picture

Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA), a State nodal agency that supports all e-Governance initiatives of the State, has established over 10,000 CSCs across the State which are run with the help of several agencies that include Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV), ELCOT, PACS, VPRC, IFAD, VLE and other agencies. Of these, only two agencies TACTV and ELCOT operate in the city with 486 and 373 service centres respectively. While TACTV supports Aadhaar services at almost all its centres, ELCOT can offer Aadhaar services only at 206 of the 373 centres under its watch.

Against this backdrop, people could not receive Aadhaar services at these eSeva centres for around 20 days. One of the higher officials of the TACTV said, “With regard to Aadhaar services, the process of digitalisation is going on in full swing and the software version migration is ongoing. The process is almost over and it would be ready in another five days. Once the software is upgraded, the system would work faster than earlier. I am responsible for nearly 120 centres in the city. As the Apna portal (Aadhaar services) has been down for nearly 20 days, I have been visiting various centres, explaining the problem to them.”

Each centre, based on the service agency running it, has a unique problem. For instance, one of the officials at ELCOT said, “We could not do wallet top-up at the portal and we have raised the issue with the bank concerned. Once the wallet is recharged, there should not be any problem with the portal.”

In general, the operators at the eSeva centres and the officials of the service agencies say that there is a problem with the ‘Apna’ portal.

When contacted, one of the senior officials from ‘Apna’ portal services, said, “As such, the portal is not completely down.

The Common Services Centre (CSC) scheme is part of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) to provide two types of services – Business to Citizen (B2C) and Government to Citizen (G2C). Under B2C services, we offer services such as insurance premium payment, mobile bill payment and recharge, data card recharge, DTH recharge and other similar services. Under G2C services, we offer passport services, Aadhaar services, election services, PAN card services and other government-related services.

There is no problem in rendering any of these services, except for the Aadhaar services.

With regard to Aadhaar services, the process of digitalisation is going on and we are going towards a ISO-certified platform. The software upgrade, which is aimed at ensuring the security of Aadhaar data, is in full swing. We are also in the process of adding more services.”

Now, around one lakh village-level operators, called entrepreneurs, are operating the portal services. But, once the migration is completed, around 2.5 lakh operators would be on board. “Of late, we keep talking more about the safety of Aadhaar data and on how to protect it. The migration of the software is the solution for all our concerns. This is a measure taken to enhance the strength of the portal too. To put it simply, we ensure people’s biometric data and other Aadhaar details are safe with the government.”