By Prarthana Mitra
The UIDAI revealed large-scale plans for Aadhaar enrolment and updation in 53 cities across the country. The mega project will involve setting up UIDAI’s own facilitation centres modeled after Passport Seva Kendras, which will be operational by 2019, according to official sources.
Details of the mega-project
The Aadhaar Seva Kendras will be supervised by the regulatory body and will operate alongside the existing 30,000 centres, currently being run by banks and post offices. The cost of the entire project is being estimated to be around Rs 300-400 crore, officials reported to PTI.
Enrolling for Aadhaar services and updating details will become more convenient in each of these centres, which will be equipped with 8 or 16 stations each to deal with service requests and queries. Agra, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Amritsar, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Dehradun, Goa, Guwahati, Hubli, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kota and Lucknow are some of the cities due to get two centres each. The four metropolitans will get four centres.
The Aadhaar controversy
This comes just after the Supreme Court curbed the scope and use of Aadhaar while upholding its constitutional validity for welfare schemes.
It is no longer mandatory for bank accounts or school admissions, the bench ruled last month. However, the court observed that Aadhaar poses no violation to privacy and kept it mandatory for the filing of Income Tax (IT) returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN). But it categorically struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that permitted telecom companies to access biometric Aadhaar data.
The UIDAI, however, insists that service providers continue using offline verification tools like eAadhaar and QR (Quick Response) code, that leverage Aadhaar without authentication, thus accessing biometric information of citizens, sometimes even revealing the 12-digit number. Critics including Edward Snowden has even called it a mass surveillance system, and the backlash against the common identification system continues to this day.
According to reports, around 1 lakh enrol and 4 lakh people update their Aadhaar details every day, with over 122 crore Aadhaar issued in total so far.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.