In the first initiative of its kind in the country, the state government is launching an online process to fast-track registration of Unique Identification Number (also known as Adhaar) in Mumbai and Pune, in the next few days. It will give respite to thousands of people who have been complaining about long queues and bribes being sought by some agents at UID centres.
Once operational, citizens will be able to register through a government website and fix suitable appointments at the nearest centre for biometric registration. An official from the IT department of the state government said this will reduce registration time to less than 10 minutes.
The department has also decided to home-deliver the forms to facilitate easy and hassle-free registration. "We have received complaints about miscreants making money in some pockets by offering to facilitate UID registration. But people should understand that the process will last for at least another nine months and there is no need to fall prey to such ill-practices."
After the project was launched in January, the first three months saw a lukewarm response, but it has gathered good momentum in the last two months, with total enrollment of 81.84 lakh. Of them, 13.54 lakh have received the cards. The state is third, after Andhra Pradesh (28.87 lakh) and Karnataka (13.51 lakh), in issuance of these cards, though authorities claim the state is on top when it comes to number of enrollments.
The question being raised is how the state government will complete the exercise before March next year, the deadline set by the Centre. "Currently, we have 3,733 Adhaar stations covering all the tehsils and districts, with an average rate of 20 enrollments a day per centre. We are planning to scale this to 8,630 stations and increase the enrollment rate to 60 per day to meet the deadline," said Santosh Bhogle, under-secretary, IT department.
Interestingly, the response has been overwhelming in the backward districts like Amravati, Wardha and Miraj, with Jalgaon leading the chart with the registration of more than 20% of the population. In contrast, Mumbai (8%), Thane (6%) and Navi Mumbai (10%) are lagging far behind the state average. Authorities feel that introduction of online registration will boost rate of enrollment in big cities.