New stringent norms have slowed down enrolment for the unique identification or Aadhaar number as some agencies have expressed inability to meet the conditions.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was supposed to re-start enrolment to record biometric details of around 400 million Indians in 18 states from April, after enrolling around 200 million by February 2012.
“Only a few enrolment agencies have started work in some states,” admitted a senior UIDAI official, who was not willing to be quoted.
There are two major reasons for this slow take-off of the second phase of enrolment.
First is introduction of a new software to register enrolments with new fields for agencies to improve “quality of demographic data”. “All documents, including residence proof, have been made mandatory,” a UIDAI official said. Just not that, now the three biometrics — iris, fingerprints and face — will have to be taken in higher resolution for quicker and easier generation of Aadhaar numbers. The UIDAI has decided to carry out 100% manual check of all biometric exceptions — a person whose biometrics cannot be captured — to prevent a repeat in the second phase. Second is unwillingness of many agencies to adhere to new norms at the old price of maximum R50 for each successful enrolment. This is because the UIDAI for the second phase has decided to impose a penalty of R150 for every error in enrolment and R500 for violation of its guidelines.
“We have also installed a fraud analytics module at Central Identity Data Repository (CIDR) to track fraud attempts,” the official said.
An official of an enrolment agency, who was not willing to be quoted, said the manpower cost will double because of new UIDAI norms. “It will be a loss-making proposition in areas with less population or turnout,” he added.
RS Sharma, director general of UIDAI, was, however, confident of overturning the tide in the next few days. “By first week of June, the enrolments will resume with full swing,” an official said. The UIDAI is also facing trouble in finding agencies after it decided to suspend operations of some companies for non-compliance in first phase.