Maharashtra government targets schools to complete 100% Aadhaar enrollment

To meet its ambitious target for 100% Aadhaar enrollment by the year-end, the state government is formulating intervention strategies to register children in schools and anganwadis. Apart from identifying schools where the enrollment for the unique identity program is low, it is also planning to train anganwadi supervisors to enrol infants and universalise the Aadhaar card.

Maharashtra has a population of 11.23 crore, according to the 2011 census, and over 88% have already enrolled for Aadhaar, higher than the national tally of over 75%. However, around 1.40 crore population, largely those below the age of 18 years, is yet to enrol for the national unique identity number, thus necessitating the focussed interventions. In contrast, the coverage of people in the 18 years and above category is almost 97%.

Recently, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, director general, UIDAI, met senior state information technology (IT), women and child development department and education department officials in Mumbai to speed up the registration of children. “Our main focus will be on anganwadis and schools. The education department will identify schools where the enrolment is low,” IT director M Shankarnarayanan told dna.

“We are considering using anganwadi supervisors to enrol children in the zero to five years age group… and build capacity in anganwadis like it has been done in Himachal Pradesh,” he added, noting that however, these supervisors would have to be trained first.

This intervention strategy will largely take place in rural areas where mobility is a problem and inhibits access to Aadhaar enrolment centres, unlike urban pockets. The state government is also planning camps in areas with poor Aadhaar coverage. Around 77 lakh children below the age of five, and 68 lakh below the age of 18 are yet to be registered for the program.

Officials admit that they also need a mechanism to tackle new births and population inflow. Maharashtra already has 2,000 functional kits for permanent enrolment procured by the state government and placed on the ground in the citizen service centres, which are identified by the Maha e-Seva Kendra brand name.

Around six villages are covered by one such CSC, which offers government to citizen (G2C) and commercial services. To meet the registration targets, the state has decided to add 1,929 more machines, taking the total number to 3,929.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has launched an Android-based software to register children below the age of five and this will enable the deployment of tabs to enrol children below the age of five. These tabs will be used to photograph children and collect the fingerprints and the Aadhaar numbers of the parent for validation. TheMaharashtra government plans to deploy around 500 such tabs.

The state government will also give inputs to district collectors about villages and blocks where the Aadhaar enrolment is low. This will enable the deployment of enrolment kits to ensure their optimum utilisation instead of using them at locations where the footfalls are less.

To ensure optimal use of these machines, the district collectors will evaluate the enrolment data, evaluate non-performing machines and ask the VLEs to pull up their socks. Officials admitted that ensuring 100% coverage by December-end would not be an easy task.

“The demand push is definitely there and initial reluctance among people has been overcome. However, infrastructure issues like power supply still persist,” said an official.