CSCs upset over UIDAI’s plan to privatise Aadhaar enrolment

Ronendra Singh | | Updated on: Oct 30, 2018

The UIDAI move may promt three lakh CSC owners to go on a strike as jobs would be at stake | Photo Credit: Bikas Das

Over one lakh workers in CSCs handle enrolment and updating of unique identity

A Common Service Centres (CSCs) which are handling Aadhaar enrolment are up in arms as the UIDAI is planning to farm out the work to the private sector.

Currently, most of the enrolment and updating in rural areas are done by the CSCs, a government agency.

UIDAI’s plan to hand over the enrolment work to private sector may prompt three lakh CSC owners to go on strike as jobs of their 12-lakh employees will be at stake. Aadhaar enrolment or updating is one of the major jobs at these centres where over one lakh people are involved in this work alone.

Officials are trying to convince the CSCs not to go on strike over the issue, Dinesh Tyagi, Chief Executive Officer, CSC told BusinessLine.

Digital India

CSCs are a strategic part of the ‘Digital India’ programme, which are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India.

These centres across the country help in the delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare schemes, healthcare, financial, education and agriculture services, apart from a host of B2C services to citizens in rural and remote areas.

Tyagi said that a lot of people may feel uncomfortable if the enrolment is privatised as people in rural areas are provided all the services at their neighbourhoods, which private companies may not be able to. Therefore, he said, at least updating (address, name change) of Aadhaar should continue at the CSCs for the benefit of the poor in rural areas.

CSC owners have spent money on equipment such as Iris scanner and biometric devices which would go waste now. “What will happen to CSCs who invested money in setting up Aadhaar centres and employment of more than one lakh persons?” asked Tyagi.

Impact in rural areas

“All government departments and ministries are utilising CSCs for service delivery.

They are best suited for Aadhaar-related services especially in rural areas. So far, 27 crore Aadhaar enrolments are done by CSCs and about one crore children enrolled and about 90 lakh updation done,” he added.

Ironically, both CSC and UIDAI are under the same ministry— the Ministry of Electronics and the IT (MeitY), and both are under the supervision of Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who awarded Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) to those who helped in enrolling Aadhaar numbers.

The whole issue began when the UIDAI, earlier this month, came out with a ‘request for proposal (RFP) for establishing and running Aadhaar Seva Kendras (ASK)’, which according to CSC sources is to favour ‘large corporates’ and individual players, who are kept out of it deliberately.

This is despite the Supreme Court having no objection to let CSCs do Aadhaar related work, they said.

Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO, UIDAI, said, “With Aadhaar Seva Kendras, we are building hassle-free and resident-friendly enrolment and we update facility infrastructure to ensure ease in Aadhaar-related services to residents.”

Almost 114 Kendras in 53 cities and towns including State capitals will be established in the first phase.

These Kendras will be in addition to the centres operating in banks, post offices and in government premises, he said.

UIDAI sources said that the phasing out or closing enrolment centres at private places, setting up Aadhaar centres in banks, post offices, and ASKs directly under UIDAI supervision are steps to comply with the direction of the Supreme Court, in the PAN-Aadhaar linking case.

Published on October 30, 2018
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