The director general of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), RS Sharma, on Thursday said the delivery of unique identification numbers (Aadhar) to the people will pick up considerably as the authority has commissioned three printers that would print high volumes of Aadhar cards.
The director general, who was here to launch the second phase of enrolments in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Chandigarh, said they planned to clear the pendency by June 2012.
Delays in delivery of Aadhar
The UIDAI official admitted to delays in the delivery of the cards. “Earlier we had an agreement with India Post for the printing and delivery of Aadhar cards. However, their printing capacity was about a lakh cards per day while our output in terms of Aadhar generation was several times higher. So this resulted in delays,’’ Sharma said while answering a query on the delays in the delivery of the cards.
The three new printers – Manipal Technologies Limited, Bombay Security Press and Kolkatta Security Press – have a combined printing capacity of 15-lakh UID cards per day.
Also, he said since enrolments in the second phase were being done using a new and “improved” software with new controls and upload facility, the delays will be minimised and delivery of Aadhar will be faster. The UIDAI director general said their delivery rate in Himachal Pradesh was 92 %, Chandigarh (88%), Haryana (83%) and Punjab (80 %).
Speaking on enrolment in the northern region, Sharma said there was 56 % enrolment in Himachal Pradesh, 62 % in Chandigarh, 38 % in Punjab and 8 % in Haryana. Regarding the low percentage of enrolment in Haryana, Sharma said the enrolment in Haryana was slow as the public distribution system (PDS) of the smart card project has been linked with unique identification number.
“We have completed 20-crore enrolments nationwide. About 17.5-crore Aadhars have been generated and 14 crore dispatched. As far as Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh are concerned, we plan to complete the enrolment of the entire population by February 2013,” Sharma said.
NPR vis-à-vis Aadhar
On the dispute regarding duplication of work in capturing biometric details of citizens under the UID and National Population Register (NPR), the UIDAI director general said UID is responsible for 14 states and four union territories ( Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Chandigarh, Delhi, Daman and Puducherry) while the NPR has been mandated to undertake enrolments in the remaining 14 states and three UTs (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep).
“While being enrolled for NPR, if a resident informs (the official concerned) that he has already enrolled for Aadhar, his biometric will not be collected again,’’ Sharma said.
Benefits of Aadhar
Aadhar-enabled payment system includes: scholarships, payments under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), social security pensions, PDS and kerosene distribution. Sharma said Aadhar’s biggest success lay in eliminating duplication and fakes.
“About Rs. 40,000 crore is being spent by the government on NREGS. More than Rs. 3-lakh crore is being spent on subsidies and payments. If we can check pilferage and clean up the system with Aadhar’s help, it will be a tremendous achievement. Aadhar linked pilot project on direct transfer of subsidy for kerosene in Rajasthan has been a great success in getting rid of ghost beneficiaries,’’ Sharma said.
Ten districts from northern states will be undertaking pilot projects on Aadhar linked payments following the union finance minister’s announcement. These districts are Nawanshahr, Fatehgarh Sahib and Gurdaspur in Punjab, Ambala and Sonepat in Haryana, Una, Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
Asked about the imminent challenges before the UIDAI, Sharma said a significant challenge will be to bring the states and other service delivery agencies onboard and leverage UID for efficient delivery of benefits to the targeted population.