NEW DELHI, 14 July-2014, Mahendra K Singh/TNN: Ending speculation over the fate of Aadhaar numbers,…
New Delhi: After advancing the final date to complete biometrics for Aadhaar, prime minister Narendra Modi has tasked his trusted aide Nripendra Misra to get cracking and roll out the unique ID numbers for 110 crore citizens within five months.
Misra took a meeting of all stakeholder ministries and RGI and UIDAI on November 6 asking them to finish biometrics collection in all the states by March end, sources said. Incidentally, the sudden push from Modi for Aadhaar, who had given ample indications of not being in favour of Aadhaar but for trusted national population register (NPR) as chief minister
of Gujarat, came after UIDAI’s erstwhile chief Nandan Nilekani gave him a presentation on the project.
To draw the twin benefits of success in elections and bring down huge burden of subsidies, UPA-II government had pushed for Aadhaar to link up direct benefit transfers (DBT) for targeted schemes but could not deliver it in time because of internal squabbles and gigantic proportions.
Clear in his mind about the kind of benefits can accrue because of Aadhaar, PM Modi does not to repeat the same mistakes. Sources said to push people to get quickly enrol under Aadhaar, the government is expected to link up more and more services with the unique ID.
As the Supreme Court has already ruled that Aadhaar cannot be mandatory for schemes, the government is expected to treat Aadhaar number not as mandatory but preferred or desired mode for quicker delivery of services like it recently did in the case of passports.
Another plan on the cards is paying wages for rural job schemes directly into beneficiary’s bank or post office account after linking them with their Aadhaar numbers. This is expected to be implemented from January in 300 districts where 70 per cent of residents already have Aadhaar numbers.
However, a major worry for the government remains states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam that have made little progress in Aadhaar enrolment. In Bihar, only 66 lakh Aadhaar numbers out of an estimated 8 crore have been generated so far while in Uttar Pradesh only 2.08 crore people out of a target population of 17 crores have been enrolled. Enrolment is yet to begin in Assam where national register of citizens (NRC) is in progress.
Assembly elections are due in November-December 2015 in Bihar and in March-April, 2017 in Uttar Pradesh. A faster implementation of the project, albeit at the risks of data privacy and security checks, can deliver the BJP what Congress failed to achieve.