Will Adhaar /UID project work ?

Sent in by Rudra. By Shakti Salgaokar After much procrastination, we as a family decided to go and get ourselves the Aadhaar UID card. We got hold of the forms, filled them out and armed with the necessary documents, made way to the UID registration centre in the Hindu Colony Municipal School. Upon reaching the centre, we were told that their schedule was choc-a-bloc and they would only be able to accommodate us after 25th December. So we went back on the 26th, we were told that the Post Office forms that we managed to fill up were invalid and they needed us to fill out the form meant for their centre. We managed to get an appointment for 10am on the 29th, which we could not make. We were told to come on 30th.

On the 30th we arrived at 10.10am and were faced with a reluctant Mr Gorakhnath R, an employee of Tera Software Ltd, a Sewree based firm. Busy playing a game on his phone, he asked us to wait. The line didn’t budge an inch for almost 45 minutes. During these 45 minutes, I met a disgruntled gentleman who had already invested four days in fruitlessly chasing his UID, “How many times do I bunk work for this?” he found himself asking just as a couple of college students were denied an Aadhaar form without a valid reason. When the line did not move after almost an hour, we expressed surprise. A seasoned UID chaser told us that the person who handles the equipment, disappears for hours on end each day, halting the entire process.

We were left with no choice but to confront Mr Goraknath about the wait…… we told him that it was unfair to give out appointments if they don’t have the equipment to accommodate more than one person at a time and that we would take up his reluctance with the authorities. Even so, he continued to play his mobile phone game and said, “Go to any authority you want. You have to wait.”

This leaves me with a few questions. Firstly, why is the form for enrolment different for different centres? Secondly, what measures are in place to identify the inefficient vendors on contract to process UID applications? Who do the citizens go to if they know that the staff at their centre is slacking off, being rude or uncooperative?

Getting anything done through a government channel in this country is a struggle marred with unnecessary red-tapeism, confusion, ambiguity and hence, corruption. Try getting a Driver’s license without an agent at an RTO. Or for that matter, try registering for a Voter id card (it took nine visits for me to get that sorted a few years ago and it still bears a wrong birth-date and a wrong address). The individuals in charge at government undertakings make you run from pillar to post, without adequate information, until you’re so frustrated, you don’t care for your right to vote or your privilege to drive.

And for a system put in place to empower the people of this country, to leave them feeling helpless and frustrated during the registration is the biggest failure of Aadhaar.

PS: The people we encountered at the centre did not want to be named for the fear of being identified by the personnel.

8 thoughts on “Will Adhaar /UID project work ?

  1. This will always be a problem with a country as big as ours! Can there not be an arrangement where the govt. agencies come to people rather than the other way round? Shifting the onus from people to the govt. to cover all its citizens in the schemes that it launches! They have the BSNL, Electricity and water boards that have access to all people within a locality for billing purposes! Why not leverage these touch points?? This can not only be more organised, it may reduce any potential frauds. And for the people that cannot be covered thus, the booths can be used only for them (there by significantly reducing the traffic!!).

  2. Dear Shekhar,

    When I was still staying in India, I did face similar situations but somehow I did manage to get my way through by complaining to the authorities at the highest levels within the given area- it wasn’t easy all the time and demanded a lot of time, I still remember when I went to get my first license at RTO and managed to get my license at official price bunking 2 college days, but didn’t bow to the system. Probably now I may tend to do it differently as I can’t spare this time, inspite of boiling within. We somehow tend to bow to the system. Why don’t you write a letter to the authorities and asking them for answers and if possible put your proposition forward ?

    PS. Have just finished reading Nandan Nilekani’s book ‘Imagining India’ which also touches on the UID project – but to ready your blog to have a real life experience is also enlightening.

  3. I totally agree sir..It is as if in a country, where fundamentally people are considered to be caring, do not care at all about other person or his time.

  4. With TCS handling the front end I thought things would be better.
    Read news stories about how they were not technically geared to accept the downloaded form from their own site.
    So what is one supposed to do?
    I’m as yet, waiting this one out.

    Thanks, Rudra.

  5. sir, i am again(forced) to enroll for the Adhaar card i had been through the process earlier last year but now they are saying to repeat it again. so search a little on the internet and found that this whole project is unfeasible to repeat again which will sent the govt on a big loss trip.
    plus after reading the SCoF report i smell scam, conspiracy and a attempt to establish a kind of ‘NEW WORLD ORDER’ by the government. and this whole idea of UID seems a deceit.
    an article in ‘The Hindu’
    also tells the same story. it has created a great amount of doubt about the subtle agenda of government behind this whole expensive scheme of massive public data collection.

  6. People when they go to enroll strengthen the belief of the officials that the project works and this has been put forth as an argument for continuing the project. I suggest they should procrastinate their enrollment to as late as possible. Personally, I am not going to enroll before 2016. The urgency to enroll is typically an Indian mentality. We are not like the British who would prefer to get enrolled last saying “pehle aap”. To me its indecency to go to enrollment anytime before 2014 (esp for the rich) as the project is meant for the poor and poor should enroll first. Let the cattle class enroll first. If you ask me i would prefer a bank as an enrollment agency and enroll with respect. If you are of the category with several pan cards and want to be caught you may still want to try your luck and enroll.

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