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Uidai returns to put Aadhaar on track

People can expect prompt availability of Aadhaar cards with the return of Unique Identification Authority of India (Uidai) in the state after a gap of around one-and-a-half years.

The cabinet committee on UIDAI on Tuesday approved the proposal to bring in the authority (Uidai) for the enrolment exercise in four more states — Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand.

This decision would prove to be a boon for those who are eagerly waiting to get Aadhaar cards, as the enrolment speed is expected to gain momentum by at least twice the present rate. The enrolment would now be done both by the Uidai and Registrar-General of India (RGI), which has been doing the same in Bihar over past one year under the National Population Register (NPR) project.

A release from Press Information Bureau (PIB), New Delhi, on Tuesday confirmed the development.

The release reads: “The Uidai and the RGI will work out modalities to ensure that there is no duplication in collection of biometrics. It was further decided that enrolment by the Uidai will start immediately and that the Uidai will separately submit financial proposals to the Union ministry of finance in respect of the additional enrolment.”

One of the fundamental reasons for relocation of states for Aadhaar enrolment is to augment the penetration of the UPA government’s much-touted direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme in the four most populous states. This, of course, would prove much to the benefit of the UPA government ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

As of now, the transfer of welfare amounts in around 10 schemes directly in the bank accounts of beneficiaries linked to Aadhaar number as envisaged by the DBT scheme has been rolled out in only three districts in Bihar — Arwal, Sheohar and Sheikhpura.

For the Aadhaar enrolment process, biometric registration of residents for the same in Bihar was being solely done by the RGI under the NPR since February 20, 2013. However, the progress remained quite disappointing, as hardly 5 per cent of total population in the state has been covered as of now.

Highlighting the reasons behind the slow progress in biometric registration in the state, a senior official from the New Delhi-based RGI headquarters said: “It has been difficult to get the UID operators, especially in rural areas, to operate the biometric equipment as their selection process is quite stringent. Vendors awarded the contract for collection of biometric details also backed out at several places, after which fresh tenders were issued for the same, which led to unnecessarily delay.”

On the progress on biometric registration under the NPR, the RGI official added: “In our status report submitted to the Union cabinet, we have stated that the respective progress was zero per cent in 26 districts in Bihar till a month ago. However, the RGI office has also given a caution note with the status report that introduction of the Uidai can lead to frequent duplication of entries.”