Gaps in Aadhaar coverage in Maharashtra with 1.19 crore yet to enrol for unique ID cards

While the Centre plans to universalise Aadhaar by March 2017, around 1.19 crore under the age of 18 in Maharashtra are yet to be enrolled for the unique identity number. Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nashik are among the districts with the highest percentage of uncovered population, with 12.87 lakh people yet to be covered in Mumbai alone.

However, Aadhaar numbers have been generated for around 90.41% of the state’s projected population of 11.89 crore with 99.94% of those aged above 18 being registered. The 1.19 crore uncovered population in Maharashtra includes 64 lakh children under the age of five and 55 lakh below 18. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) coverage for the zero-to-five age cohort is just 41%, while that for the five to 18 years group is 81%. However, there are plans to ensure that by September-end, all adults (18 years and above) are covered.

A universal roll-out of the unique identity cards will help the Centre’s plans to push the trinity of Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile to enable social security, delivery of welfare schemes and financial inclusion.

Maharashtra chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya told dna that they planned to launch a campaign to enrol children below the age of five in anganwadis. “Their biometrics cannot be captured,” noted Kshatriya, adding that, hence, they were changing the strategy, and now, the photographs of the children with both or either parents would be captured. Biometric details of children, such as their iris and fingerprints, will be captured later.

The state’s directorate of information technology has already procured 3,929 enrollment kits and plans to deploy 4,400 tablets for registration in anganwadis and schools. Around 3,900 of these Android-based tabs will be procured for the women and child development department and used in anganwadis.

It will undertake tablet-based enrollment in government hospitals (district and sub-district hospitals) and the public health department will issue instructions to private institutions for procuring tablets. An Aadhaar enrollment pilot has been completed at the Daga memorial hospital in Nagpur. Aadhaar-linked birth registration has been initiated with officials visiting Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to understand best practices used there.

Camps will also be set up in schools and educational institutions for those in the five to 18 years age group.

Kshatriya said the enrollment progress was reviewed by prime minister Narendra Modi on the Pragati platform and added that there was a target to ensure universal coverage by March 2017.

According to state government’s figures, Thane (with newly-created Palghar) tops the districts with the highest number of uncovered beneficiaries (15,27,900), followed by Pune (13,58,046), Mumbai (12,87,862), Nashik (5,51,606) and Solapur (5,37,275). Some other districts that are part of the “focus districts” with high number of uncovered population include Nanded (4,62,969), Jalgaon (3,80,048), Aurangabad (3,53,127), Ahmednagar (3,29,147) and Amravati (3,12,328).

The districts with the healthiest coverage of Aadhaar in terms of least uncovered population include Ratnagiri (31,404), Wardha (59,951), Bhandara (67,556), Gondia (75,366) and Gadchiroli (88,036).

The percentage of Aadhaar seeding in Maharashtra for the public distribution system is around 86.53%, while that for the National Social Assistance Program and NREGA is 88.23% and 90.84%, respectively.

By August 9, around 104.05 crore Aadhaar numbers were issued with around 81% of the 128 crore population enrolling.

However, as on July 31, while the percentage of those above 18 years covered across the country is 98%, the coverage for the 0-5 years age group is just 22%, while that for the five to 18 years age group is 65%. To ensure blanket coverage of the population, around 24 crore people needed to be enrolled.