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 didnâ€™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, â€œHow many times do I bunk work for this?â€ 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 donâ€™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, â€œGo to any authority you want. You have to wait.â€
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 Driverâ€™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 youâ€™re so frustrated, you donâ€™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.