Ranchi, Sept. 13: Chief minister Arjun Munda today requested Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) head Nandan Nilekani to ensure every individual in “model state” Jharkhand was registered for the Aadhaar number by March 2013.
Jharkhand, which has trumped neighbours in enrolling people for the 12-digit number, has to increase the speed of its progress four times to meet the target of delivering the unique ID to its 3.29 crore population in just over six months.
Reviewing the progress of enrolment for Aadhaar cards, Munda also directed chief secretary S.K. Choudhary and other senior officials to ensure work was completed on time.
In Jharkhand, the UIDAI project is being carried out in two phases.
UIDAI director-general R.S. Sharma said in the first phase, 83,56,657 people were enrolled, while 52,48,521 cards were issued.
The second phase began in June. With over 2 crore people yet to be enrolled, a steep target of one lakh people per day is a must.
“A four-fold increase in the working strength of enrolment agencies is necessary. If enrolment is done at 2,000 centres every day, work will be completed within the set time frame,” Sharma opined.
At this, the chief minister assured him that his government would extend all help. He stressed the need for regular monitoring, especially at centres where enrolment figures were poor.
He also asked the chief secretary and development commissioner to review the pace of work and set up special task forces at the divisional level.
This should be done in co-ordination with deputy commissioners and divisional commissioners, he added.
Munda argued that the state resident data hub should have details of every individual residing in Jharkhand.
The database, he added, ought to be linked to the public distribution system (PDS), MGNREGS projects and social security and welfare schemes to ensure the plans reached out to genuine beneficiaries.
“Many states have tested various application mechanisms. We, too, need to do comparative analyses of what other states are doing and evolve our own application mechanism. Rural development and urban development departments, in particular, should prioritise this. Good performers will be rewarded,” he added.
Echoing Munda’s views, the UIDAI chairman pointed out that in Maharashtra, payment of salaries to private schoolteachers was done on the basis of Aadhaar cards. Similarly, unique identification numbers were required to get subsidies on LPG in Mysore district of Karnataka, for PDS supplies in Andhra Pradesh and for disbursal of pension in Tripura, he added.
“Because of the Aadhaar database, people are availing of all due benefits. Since we have chosen Jharkhand as a model state, we also need to see that in the next financial year, benefits of all government schemes are provided here on the basis of Aadhaar cards,” he added.
Sources said while the slow process of enrolment of Aadhaar is an issue of concern in rural areas of the state due to several reasons, mainly logistical problems, the progress is better in urban centres.
Urban development secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni said they had achieved enrolment figures of about 40-45 per cent while sources in the rural development department claimed that it was less than 25 per cent.
Notably, while urban population in the state is around 60 lakh, the rural population has crossed the 2.5 crore mark.
In Maoist-hit districts like Chatra and Latehar, the work on enrolment could not be undertaken in last couple of years, as the UIDAI-empanelled agencies did not turn up to bid for rural areas.
UIDAI sources revealed while Chatra had recently been able to get an agency after the third bidding following two abortive bids, the process to invite tender to rope in an enrolment agency for Latehar is underway for the fourth time.
Problems are being faced in Deoghar district of Santhal Pargana, too, where the authorities failed to attract an agency to execute the task after an earlier one backed out.