Aadhaar ID, gains and pains

Shimla: Sudden realization about welfare and subsidy schemes to be linked to Aadhaar card has turned up skeptics at registration counters, lately, but a breakthrough in making direct cash transfers into beneficiaries’ accounts of various schemes in Himachal through a pilot involving the new identification technology has also been made.

Talking to Hill Post, senior Information Technology department official Anil Shemwal disclosed that direct benefit transfer of entitled subsidies, scholarships and other welfare schemes using Aadhaar cards in the four districts of Hamirpur, Una, Bilaspur and Mandi had enabled 7492 beneficiaries to obtain Rs 1.81 crore worth of benefits by way of direct transfers into their bank accounts.

“By July the districts of Solan and Kullu would also be brought under the ambit of the direct transfer schemes,” he said.

Though city residents here are facing much trouble in getting themselves enrolled for Aadhaar, but overall the state has covered much ground with 87 percent (59,91,628) of the 6,856,509 targeted population in accordance with the 2011 census standing enrolled and as much as 78 percent (53,33,297) having been given the biometric ID numbers.

Data with the Information Technology department, the nodal agency engaged for Aadhaar enrolling, interestingly, shows that against a target population of 13,56,406 in the districts of Hamirpur, Una and Bilaspur, the vendors had obtained a enrollment coverage for 14,06,804 people. ID cards had been already been issued to 13,07,764 people.

Hamirpur district has the distinction of achieving 100 percent coverage and Shimla and tribal Kinnaur had only registered 60 percent coverage.

With the intention of cutting food subsidy bill, the state governments’ recent announcement of linking PDS schemes with Aadhaar has seen a sudden rush for enrollments in the city here.

Though new enrollment counters have been opened in various localities but after submitting applications, queues for biometric mapping by appointments are running packed for a fortnight and more.

Not all are satisfied with the mapping and enrollment process. “Registering for Aadhaar has become a racket science,” says DK Sharma, a retired bureaucrat. “I registered more than two years ago, only to learn there was some error in the data. So I registered again, two months ago. Now the UIDAI website tells me that they have no data for me. Will someone advise which way to go?”

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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