IT minister’s resignation puts Aadhaar enrolments on backburner


SRINAGAR, The Minister for Information Technology, Imran Raza Ansari’s tendering his resignation from the council of ministers for being given “insignificant portfolio” has put the resumption of enrollment of Aadhaar cards on backburner in Jammu and Kashmir.

A senior IT department official informed Greater Kashmir that J&K’s IT department is nodal agency for Aadhaar enrollments in the state and its consent is must before finalizing the modalities for the resumption of biometric data collection centres in the state which were closed following directives by Union Home Ministry .

“Minister in charge of IT department’s consent is must for vetting Standard Operation Procedure (SOPs) between Home Ministry’s Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and JK government to resume Aadhaar enrollments in the JK again,” said a senior IT department official wishing anonymity.

Two ministers from the ruling People’s Democratic Party resigned from the State Cabinet on Friday, hours after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expanded her Council of Ministers and effected major changes in portfolios under her party leaders. On Sunday, Bukhari however met with the Chief Minister here following which he flew to Jammu which was a clear indication of him joining the office.

Ansari, an influential Shia leader, who was holding the charge of Information Technology, Technical Education and Youth Services and Sports, has left for Iran for pilgrimage and would return by middle of March. Though he too had a meeting with the Chief Minister on Saturday, there was no word whether he would join the office on his return. “Until the minister resumes charge, resumption of Aadhaar enrollment is unlikely to begin soon,” officials said admitting that the finalization of SOP has already taken lot of time which has halted new Aadhaar enrollments and rectification of errors reported by the people across the State.

“There is mounting pressure from public for resumption of Aadhaar enrollment centres as the people are facing tough time given the significance of biometric cards,” he added.

Further to add up to the miseries of people, the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department has made Aadhaar mandatory for availing ration related subsidies and other benefits without cross examining whether the Aadhaar enrollment centres are operational in the state or not. While the IT department has failed to finalize SOPs for resumption of Aadhaar enrollment centres leaving people high and dry.

To mention, earlier Registrar General of India was overlooking of recording of biometric details in India, however now the Home Ministry has handed over the project to UIDAI as a result of which all the centres were closed and will resume operations after they finalize MOU with UIDAI.

Officials state that were 344 ECs operating across the state whose primary job was to generate Aadhaar cards and also rectify errors reported by the people who have already received NPR smart cards.

As per the data compiled by Information Technology department, 90 percent population in JK were enrolled under Aadhaar; however there is still 10 percent who are yet to get registered. As per officials there were 344 ECs were operating in JK under the supervision of Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), which had outsourced its operation to two local private IT firms.