The bureaucracy in Madhya Pradesh is divided over continuation of the state’s unique Samagra identification number which they say was in conflict with the Centre’s Aadhar scheme and was creating roadblocks in government benefits reaching the people.
Sources said the issue was flagged by a section of officials during their feedback to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan following their fact-finding tours to different drought-hit districts.
Based on the Centre’s Aadhar cards issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Samagra ID is a local identification data bank aimed at efficient disbursal of government benefits.
While the Samagra Family ID is an eight-digit number for each family, individual members are issued a unique nine-digit Samagra ID.
Sources said that the issue was raised when the chief minister asked the officers about complaints from people that many have stopped getting pensions.
A senior official is understood to have made a strong case for discontinuing with the Samagra ID and replaced by the Aadhar scheme instead as many people complained that their names were not reflecting in the state’s database.
The sources said that a section of officials are in favour of stopping the Samagra scheme.
However, another section of officers opposed the move and said the problem was not because of the Samagra scheme but of a government policy which stipulates that only people falling in BPL category are entitled to get pension.
They suggested that if government wants to give pension to all the people then rules should be framed for them too.
“The beneficiaries of government schemes have all been given Samagra IDs while Aadhar card coverage in the state is around 80%,” said Ashok Barnwal, principal secretary of food and civil supplies department.
At present state government has a base of about 5.25 crore people, all of them are beneficiaries of some or the other government scheme, added Barnwal.
According to sources, 16% of the Aadhar card holders do not have Samagra IDs yet are beneficiaries of various government schemes. This number translates into 1.12 crore people.
If Samagra is to be replaced by Aadhar, this number needs to be addressed first, which is a humongous task.
The state government started allotting Samagra identification numbers about four years ago to all the people who were beneficiaries of any government scheme. An estimated Rs 25 crore was spent on the project.