Agencies Issue ‘Free’ Aadhaar Cards for a Fee

BENGALURU: BENGALURU: Even though the government is issuing Aadhaar cards for free, citizens in many places are paying for it.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is administering the project, says those charging fees for the card will be penalised, but no such action has been reported.

Aadhaar cards help citizens get various government benefits.

A centre located in Vinayak Nagar, on M S Palya Main Road, proclaims, “Digital Aadhaar card done here.” It also quotes a fee: Rs 100. The centre also deals in PAN cards — officially free — for Rs 249.

Some people in M S Palya are aware the cards are a right, but most are not. “Many have paid up at this centre. Since they get their Aadhaar cards, they pay without making a fuss,” said Shafiq, a student living in the neighbourhood.

The racket is thriving in Mysuru, one of the first districts where the Aadhaar-based direct benefit transfer was launched.

Enrolment Centres

Karnataka has 1,374 centres to sign up citizens for Aadhaar, operated by several private agencies.

Registrations are done at Karnataka One, Bengaluru One and other civic agencies. Several illegal centres are in operation in various parts of the state. The problem is difficult to track as people don’t complain, a source in the Karnataka e-governance cell said.

Bengaluru (Urban) Deputy Commissioner V Shankar told Express that UIDAI was the implementing agency and complaints should be directed to them.

Helpline

A consultant at the Centre for e-Governance said citizens could call 080-4455 4499 to complain against agencies collecting money for Aadhaar cards.