Aadhaar: The crisis of identity cards

Aadhaar: The crisis of identity cards

An Aadhaar card is supposed to make you unique and help track your identity. Yet, this Rs 8,000-crore project can’t even tell you where your Aadhaar letter is! For, the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) has no mechanism in place to monitor the movement of letters despatched to applicants.


UIDAI claims the Authority and the Department of Posts, roped in to deliver the cards, have tracking systems to monitor whether the Aadhaar letter has reached the intended person. But a reality check suggests otherwise.

Try logging on to the India Post website and feed your enrolment details. You are likely to get the message: “Sorry! We could not find item number in our system for this EID number.”   The UIDAI is of not much  help. The portal indicates, in most cases, whether the ID number has been generated or not. If the ID has been generated, the site will show the date and time.

No monitoring

To check whether the tracking system was working, Deccan Herald sent across four mails. The responses in each case indicated enough that there was no monitoring of the movement of despatched letters. 

Months of waiting had left many applicants impatient. The UIDAI help desk had a routine response for them: “We have checked the status of the enrolment ID furnished by you and are happy to inform that an Aadhaar number has already been generated for the ID mentioned. 

“However, due to the tremendous response we have received during enrolments, we initially faced some challenges in printing and dispatch. We have currently augmented the Aadhaar letter printing capacity and are printing about 15 lakh letters per day to clear the backlog at the earliest,” said the help desk.

The Authority expected the Aadhaar letters for all old cases to be printed by May end. They were supposed to reach the applicants by June 2012.

In one case, the status was updated within a couple of days after the help desk reply stated that the letter would reach the recipient “shortly”. 

The letter, in fact, had been delivered in the second week of December last year. 

Almost an identical reply is now in store for the beneficiaries, who are yet to receive the letters. 

This, more than 10 months after the enrolment in the City. Interestingly, many applicants waiting for the letter had enrolled in the same centre. The UIDAI claimed that the Aadhaar letters are returned in five cases - insufficient address, addressee cannot be located, letter refused by addressee, deceased and unclaimed. 

However, the system will not generate an acknowledgment slip if the address is insufficient. Besides, one has to provide address proof at the time of enrolment.   

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