Patna, Sept. 28: The Supreme Court’s interim order stating Aadhaar was not mandatory for accessing public services and subsidies has evoked repercussions in the state.
The order seems to have cast a shadow on the ongoing biometric registration process for National Population Register (NPR), which is linked with Aadhaar at present. Three of five camps in Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) areas set up for collection of biometric details of residents under NPR in Patna have been closed over the past three days after people stopped coming.
“The SC order has severely affected the biometric registration process under NPR. The footfall at the camps has drastically dropped soon after the order. It seems that people have a misconception that since Aadhaar is not mandatory, they do not need to register themselves at the NPR camps. However, enrolment for NPR is mandatory and it is an entirely different process. NPR is aimed at creating a database of citizens of the country and Aadhaar is just a part of it,” said a senior official of Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) in Patna. ECIL is the agency appointed by directorate of census operations, Bihar, for conducting biometric registration of residents under NPR in Patna.
“People have just stopped coming to the camps. Consequently, we closed the camps because the equipment used in biometric registration are quite expensive and might be stolen or get damaged if kept idle for long,” said an executive of Karvy Data Management Services Limited, one of the agencies outsourced by ECIL for looking after the biometric registration camps in PMC areas.
The biometric registration phase was launched in Bihar on February 20 this year with the registration of Governor Devanand Konwar and chief minister Nitish Kumar. It comprises photography, fingerprints and iris scan of residents enrolled in the first stage, the collection of demographic data.
“Biometric registration of around 23 lakh of the state’s 10 crore residents has been completed. Progress in the city has, however, been sluggish. Around 5,000 of around 15 lakh residents in PMC areas have been covered under the biometric registration phase,” said a senior official at the directorate of census operations, Bihar.
Though Aadhaar seems to be facing an identity crisis, the UPA government’s much-touted Aadhaar-based direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme seem to be gaining some momentum in the state after much delay.
The trial runs for transfer of the welfare amount directly into the bank account of beneficiaries through DBT started in Sheikhpura district from Wednesday.