Collector Saurabh Rao writes to government over Aadhaar hiccups

PUNE: Collector Saurabh Rao has approached the state government over the issue of non-functional Aadhaar machines at state and Centre-appointed enrolment agencies in the district.

Enrolment for Aadhaar cards in Pune district stands at 91%, and Rao said it would be difficult to speed up enrolment of the remaining 9% if problems with the Aadhaar kits are not rectified.

“For three months we have struggled to speed up the enrolment drive in the district,” Rao told TOI. “We even de-listed agencies with non-functional machines. We have constantly followed this up with the state government, but have yet to see any results,” he added.

“With adults and kids among the 9%, and with agencies not functioning to capacity, it would be difficult to speed up the enrolment process,” Rao added.

There is no deadline to meet, but with the Centre making Aadhaar mandatory for many benefits as well as filing income tax returns, it is crucial for the authorities to reach the 100% mark soon.

The collector has sought additional machines to help the district machinery finish the enrolment process. After following this matter up, the work was to restart on July 5, but with only 75 of 470 machines working, it has hampered the process more than helping it. “I will ask the state to increase the number of machines and to ensure all the machines work well,” the collector added.

According to activist Vivek Velankar, a survey of more than 100 Aadhaar Kendras showed only 8-10 machines were functional. Other agencies had asked applicants to return in November. “We brought this to the notice of MP Anil Shirole, who took it up with the divisional commissioner and district collector,” Velankar said.

Shirole told TOI he will take this up with the authorities. “With Aadhaar card to be linked to PAN cards, opening bank accounts and availing of several government schemes, the drive should be systematically carried out,” Shirole agreed.

As per revenue officials, state-appointed agencies do not submit daily progress reports. “This situation prevails in all the districts in the state. There should be a proper system to monitor these agencies, which usually shut shop if they don’t get proper response,” an official said.

Meanwhile, the Union government has already directed state governments to move enrolment centres onto government premises before September, to streamline the process.