Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) seeks states’ assistance for Aadhaar

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is asking state govts to procure additional enrolment kits.

New Delhi: Having missed the 31 December deadline to enrol every resident of India under Aadhaar, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is adopting a multipronged approach to achieve the target.

In a document to be presented at Pragati, a monthly meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to oversee the progress of various government initiatives, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has enumerated the steps it is taking for universal coverage.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is activating all existing Aadhaar enrolment centres (AECs), identifying and equipping existing information technology-enabled outlets at various government departments and agencies in states to double up as AECs, and using aanganwadis(child-care centres) and schools to enrol those aged up to 18 years. As of 29 December, out of the estimated population of 1.28 billion people, around 330 million are still to be enrolled.

On 30 September, at a Pragati meeting, Modi asked Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to complete the enrolment by 31 December, Mint had reported.

A Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) official said that as enrolment is reaching saturation levels, contracted private agencies are not finding it economically viable to deploy workers in the field to enrol people.

“A person has to be paid, say, Rs.300 for the day and he manages only five enrolments, for which it (agency) will get paid Rs.250 (Rs.50 per enrolment); the cost is not getting covered and so their interest is waning,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Keeping this in mind, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is asking state governments to procure additional enrolment kits. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Karnataka have till now procured about 8,000 kits in total. An enrolment kit comprises a computer and the biometric and iris scanner. Each kit costs Rs.1 lakh.

“We are also asking states which have large chunks of population to be enrolled to procure more kits,” said the official cited earlier. Out of the 330 million yet to be provided a unique identity number, 194.8 million people are in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

“We are advising state governments to utilize places such as gram sabhas or high school computer laboratories for setting up centres for enrolment. This will save the cost of computers as they are already there,” added the official.

Additionally, state and non-state government registrars have also procured tablets to enrol children below the age of five. As of now, around 10,000 tablets are registered with Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for enrolment. The official said that since aanganwadiworkers get tablets, the devices should be used for Aadhaar enrolment. “Since most of the government initiatives hinge on Aadhaar authentication, it makes sense to leverage the existing IT infrastructure of the government at, say, post offices or government offices to speed up the enrolment process,” said the official.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has also allowed registrars and agencies in states where 90% of enrolment has been completed to shift their kits to other states. As of now, 13 enrolment agencies have been granted approval to operate in additional states and 10 have been allowed to change states for fresh enrolments.

Through two orders, on 11 August and 15 October, the Supreme Court restricted the use of Aadhaar to schemes such as the public distribution system, distribution of cooking gas and kerosene, the rural jobs guarantee scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, central and state government pensions, and the Employees’ Provident Fund. However, it did not restrict voluntary enrolment.