Over the past six months, almost everyone who has tried to get an Aadhaar card has had to run from pillar to post, only to return stumped by a process that is not working the way it is meant to.
“When I went to my gas agency to submit documents for the Pahal Scheme they asked me if I had an Aadhar card. Since I did not have one, I went to the nearby Chennai Corporation office where they turned me away saying they did not have application forms,” said K. Sigamani, an autorickshaw driver from K. K. Nagar.
In recent months, residents have been making a beeline to local body offices to get their Aadhaar cards and most of them have not progressed beyond getting forms or submitting them. “People who submitted their forms last month have been asked to come in May for biometric registration, which is a long wait. Also, unlike inside Corporation limits, residents of suburbs have fewer centres. For the whole of Avadi, the municipal office is the only place where we get forms and biometrics is done. I am 73 and cannot climb up the steps to reach the centre, which is on the first floor of the municipal office,” said Rajalakshmi Thirumalai, Pattabiram resident.
What does the scheme entail
|1 Hundreds of residents have reported failure of biometric screening for Aadhaar. Officials have rejected applications for Aadhaar from those whose biometric screening has failed.||2 Biometric failure is when an applicant's data - finger prints and twoiris scans - matches with someone else's elsewhere in the country.||3 It is primarily caused by errors during capture, storage or poor quality of input.||4 At least 5 per cent of residents are likely to have failed biometrics. Biometric data from many senior citizens may be rejected because of damage to iris or fingerprints.|
Chennai has the least amount of biometric coverage amongs the three districts of Chennai Metroplitan area
In some cases, the particulars provided by residents are missing. Chromepet resident V. Santhanam said details submitted in August 2013 are not to be found. A lot is falling between two stools, as the primary agency is the Directorate of Census Operations and the local agency, Chennai Corporation, he charged.
Residents have also not been able to get any response from the helpline since it does not work. At some biometric centres, the equipment does not work. “When I went to a centre in Anna Nagar they said the equipment was not working and told us they will inform us about the next date, but that never happened,” said G. Ahmed, a resident of Anna Nagar.
Sources in Chennai Corporation said it only provided logistics support in the form of manpower and space. “If we run out of application forms we ask the directorate, which supplies the forms. Our work is only to supply forms and send filled-in forms to the directorate. We have been receiving complaints that the staff behind the biometric counters are very indifferent and we have raised the issue with the directorate,” explained the source.
On the delay in processing data, sources in the directorate said that it takes time to crosscheck data from the entire nation. Following complaints from residents on non-availability of forms, the directorate will despatch 50,000 forms to NPR permanent enrolment centres in the city on Tuesday to facilitate biometric data collection for Aadhaar generation. Officials at the Directorate are yet to compile the number of biometric failures in the metropolitan area. Residents whose data is missing will have to submit it again. Similarly if the biometric data has failed residents have to get biometric screening again at the permanent Aadhaar centres.