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Aadhaar cards enrolment in State yet to take off

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, May 21 - Though the Assam Government took a Cabinet decision a year back to start the process of enrolment for issuing Aadhaar cards to the citizens of the State, it has not yet been able to start the process. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has started the process through banks and post offices, the process remains very slow because of the failure of the State Government to play its desired role.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the State Cabinet took a decision in May last year to start the process of issuing Aadhaar cards to the people of the State, but it has not yet been able to complete the required formalities to open centres to enable the people to enroll their names for getting the unique identification cards from the UIDAI. The State Government had invited tenders for manpower and acquiring machines and due to some flaws in the process, fresh tenders had to be issued the process is yet to be completed even after a year of taking the Cabinet decision.

Sources said that earlier, empanelled agencies were allowed to enrol the names of people who apply for getting Aadhaar cards, but the Central Government has changed the process and enrolment centres are opened in the Government offices including offices of the Deputy Commissioner, Sub Divisional Officers, Circle Officers, Block Development Officers, etc., for security reasons. All the other states of the North East have managed to set up centres in the Government offices and the process is quite satisfactory. But the Assam Government has not yet been able to start the process.

According to records available, among the states of the region, around 99 per cent of the people received Aadhaar cards in Tripura and Sikkim, while, more than 80 per cent of the estimated population have been covered in the other states of the region barring Meghalaya and Assam. In Meghalaya, the process started late, but more than 35 per cent of the population have been covered and the entire estimated population of the state is likely to be covered within the next six months. But so far, only around seven per cent of people of Assam received Aadhaar cards.

The UIDAI has asked all the banks to set up enrolment centres in at least 10 per cent of their branches. Strict instruction has been given to the banks to set up the centres within the bank premises for security reasons. But due to manpower shortage and lack of adequate space, the banks have not been able to cope up with the rush of people. Sources admitted that the bank branches having enrolment centres can at best enroll 20 persons in a day and they have not been able to cope with the rush. Some bank branches have started issuing tokens to those who come for enrolment and in the process people are given dates ranging from three to six months to visit the banks for enrolment. The banks cannot issue cards and they can only send the details to the UIDAI for issuing the unique identification cards. The UIDAI has also asked the post offices to set up enrolment centres. But the banks and post offices would not be able to cope up with the demand and the State Government must expedite the process to ensure that the people of the State can enroll their names without much hassle.

Sources said that though the date for linking the Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts and mobile phone connections have been deferred, the people of Assam are facing problems while visiting other parts of the country because majority of them do not have the identification cards. Some hotels have started demanding Aadhaar cards for bookings, while, the Aadhaar number is also required in hospitals. Some Government hospitals demand Aadhaar numbers for online booking of appointments with doctors, while, several prominent educational institutions in the country have started demanding the unique identification cards for admissions. The card number is also required for job applications in parts of the country and the people of the State are facing problems because of the failure of the State Government to expedite the process.

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Aadhaar cards enrolment in State yet to take off

GUWAHATI, May 21 - Though the Assam Government took a Cabinet decision a year back to start the process of enrolment for issuing Aadhaar cards to the citizens of the State, it has not yet been able to start the process. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has started the process through banks and post offices, the process remains very slow because of the failure of the State Government to play its desired role.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the State Cabinet took a decision in May last year to start the process of issuing Aadhaar cards to the people of the State, but it has not yet been able to complete the required formalities to open centres to enable the people to enroll their names for getting the unique identification cards from the UIDAI. The State Government had invited tenders for manpower and acquiring machines and due to some flaws in the process, fresh tenders had to be issued the process is yet to be completed even after a year of taking the Cabinet decision.

Sources said that earlier, empanelled agencies were allowed to enrol the names of people who apply for getting Aadhaar cards, but the Central Government has changed the process and enrolment centres are opened in the Government offices including offices of the Deputy Commissioner, Sub Divisional Officers, Circle Officers, Block Development Officers, etc., for security reasons. All the other states of the North East have managed to set up centres in the Government offices and the process is quite satisfactory. But the Assam Government has not yet been able to start the process.

According to records available, among the states of the region, around 99 per cent of the people received Aadhaar cards in Tripura and Sikkim, while, more than 80 per cent of the estimated population have been covered in the other states of the region barring Meghalaya and Assam. In Meghalaya, the process started late, but more than 35 per cent of the population have been covered and the entire estimated population of the state is likely to be covered within the next six months. But so far, only around seven per cent of people of Assam received Aadhaar cards.

The UIDAI has asked all the banks to set up enrolment centres in at least 10 per cent of their branches. Strict instruction has been given to the banks to set up the centres within the bank premises for security reasons. But due to manpower shortage and lack of adequate space, the banks have not been able to cope up with the rush of people. Sources admitted that the bank branches having enrolment centres can at best enroll 20 persons in a day and they have not been able to cope with the rush. Some bank branches have started issuing tokens to those who come for enrolment and in the process people are given dates ranging from three to six months to visit the banks for enrolment. The banks cannot issue cards and they can only send the details to the UIDAI for issuing the unique identification cards. The UIDAI has also asked the post offices to set up enrolment centres. But the banks and post offices would not be able to cope up with the demand and the State Government must expedite the process to ensure that the people of the State can enroll their names without much hassle.

Sources said that though the date for linking the Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts and mobile phone connections have been deferred, the people of Assam are facing problems while visiting other parts of the country because majority of them do not have the identification cards. Some hotels have started demanding Aadhaar cards for bookings, while, the Aadhaar number is also required in hospitals. Some Government hospitals demand Aadhaar numbers for online booking of appointments with doctors, while, several prominent educational institutions in the country have started demanding the unique identification cards for admissions. The card number is also required for job applications in parts of the country and the people of the State are facing problems because of the failure of the State Government to expedite the process.

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