Clouds of uncertainity over Aadhaar

Clouds of uncertainity over Aadhaar

Only 23 pc of State’s population enrolled; firms reluctant to open new centres

With uncertainty plaguing the Unique Identity (UID) project, the enrolment process under the Centre's ambitious project to provide unique identity number or Aadhaar number to all, has been hit hard in the State.

Against the target of two crore enrolments by December 2011, the State e-governance department has been able to enroll only about 1.26 crore. The department was aiming at 80 per cent coverage by mid-2012, but so far it has enrolled just about 23 per cent of the State's population. Aadhaar number has been issued to about 74 lakh people across the State, official sources said.

The UID project is in limbo as serious concerns have been raised about its security features. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finances in its report recently, rejected the biometric data-based identification (UID is based on biometric bata). The committee criticised the UID as a directionless project and recommended the government to re-consider it.

Of the 23 districts where the project has been launched in the State, enrolment is less than 10 per cent in about eight. Shimoga has recorded the lowest enrolment with 1.14 per cent, followed by Davanagere with 1.92 per cent. The highest enrolment is in Tumkur (95.06 per cent), where the pilot project was implemented in 2010. In Bangalore, it is 15 per cent.

The project was launched in Karnataka in August 2011, and the State e-governance department has been the nodal agency to implement it. Four private companies - Wipro, Integra, Glodin and Terasoft - were entrusted to enroll people under the project.

Though the project took off with much fanfare, the enthusiasm faded with doubts being raised on its fate. The companies (also called operators) have refused to step up the pace of the enrolment process by opening more centres. They fear they would incur heavy loss if the government winds up the project and terminates their contract. Presently, about 2,729 centres are functioning in the State.

For instance, the e-governance department had directed the companies to open about 1,000 enrolment centres in Bangalore city by November 2011 and implement the enrolment process in full swing. But the companies are not ready to open new centres. Presently, Bangalore city has only 335 enrolment centres.

Sources said some companies had informed the department they would speed up the process only if the department gave an assurance in writing that the contract would not be terminated midway. The department, as a result, has not been able to take any action against them, sources pointed out.

When contacted, D S Ravindran, Chief Executive Officer, Centre of e-governance, refused to comment on the companies not eager to speed up the enrolment process. He, however, said all the companies were implementing the project and the enrolment process would pick up in the coming days.

Progress card

* Enrolment less than 10 pc in eight dists
* Shimoga records lowest figure at 1.14 pc
* Highest enrolment in Tumkur at 95.06 pc
* Bangalore has 14 pc enrolment
* Companies want govt to give in writing that contract won’t be terminated