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School kid, young elderly scramble for Aadhaar number in Delhi

Huge queues for Aadhaar number in mismanaged enrollment centers at UPA government’s pilot north-west district.
Hindustan Times | By Chetan Chauhan, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 02, 2013 09:41 PM IST

Sumit Kumar is just 12 years old but has tasted how the government functions. He had to skip the school in north-west Delhi for three days to get his Aadhaar number, now must to avail government services in the Capital.

North-West district, which had 73 % Aadhaar enrollment in December 2012, is part of 20 districts from which direct benefit transfer (DBT) for seven Central schemes including pre and post matric scholarship started from January 1, 2013. In addition, the Delhi government has made Aadhaar number a must to avail any government service, thereby making Aadhaar a mandatory requirement.

Kumar’s school has told him that he would not get pre-matric scholarship without an Aadhaar number and he, with his mother, had visited Dilkush Industrial Area near Azadpur thrice to get enrolled. He was finally enrolled on Wednesday at an enrollment centre running from an office of an investment company. But, not before bearing the chilly morning breeze for three hours.

Asha Kumari, a resident of Jehangirpuri slums, was not so fortunate. After waiting for almost two hours outside the center, she was turned away on the ground that she did not have adequate documents for enrollment. She needs Aadhaar number for getting cooking gas subsidy.

The sudden rush at Azadpur centre is because the Unique Identification Authority of India had closed down two other enrollment centres --- Shalimar Bagh and Jehangirpuri --- without much prior notice. Online appointment is now available only at this centre and mobile contacts of other enrollment centers in the districts are not working, leading to the rush.

None of the three enrollment centers visited by HT were citizen friendly. There was no public information board stating which documents are required to get enrolled and a system of taking an appointment for subsequent days. Many people were told that there documentation was incomplete at the time of getting their biometrics recorded, resulting in entire effort going waste.

An employee of the private enrollment agency at Azadpur could be seen giving wrong information to people that they will have to get enrolled once again if they gone through the Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR). A large number of people in North-West District have got themselves enrolled under NPR process five to seven months ago but are yet to get their Aadhaar letters --- another reason for the last minute rush.

Inside the enrollment centers, recording finger-prints of many was not easy. “There is a problem with taking print of fingers,” admitted an enroller at Samaipur Badli enrollment centre, where majority of applicants were unskilled workers. “In some cases machine takes 15-20 minutes to record finger-prints,” he said.

If the biometrics is not recorded, the private enrollment agency cannot seek payment. For each successful enrollment authenticated by finger print of the enroller, the agency gets Rs. 40. And, this is also a reason for them to enroll those who have already applied under NPR process.

What ails enrollment centres

No information board outside the centre to educate the applicants on how to enroll
Very less information with public offices or RWAs where the enrollment can be done
Make-shift offices (Azadpur enrollment centre is in an investment company) making enrollment difficult.
Poor finger print quality slowing down enrollment process

HT suggestions
Provide complete list of proof of identification and proof of residence documents in Hindi
Extend online appointment to more enrollment centers
Provide facility of appointment to manage rush of people
Set up helpdesk for people to fill enrollment forms
Provide information about enrollment centers at RWAs and public offices

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