Pune city has registered only 77 per cent coverage for the Aadhaar drive— the lowest registered in the district. With the final call for the Aadhaar drive by the Central government to be completed by May 31, Pune district might have to miss this deadline with nearly 10 lakh population yet to be covered.
“While the district has touched 90 per cent, some of the major talukas are lagging behind because of the shortage of machines, faulty machines or even not having the necessary reach at some places. While Khed, Haveli, are nearly at 100 per cent coverage, Mulshi has achieved the target, the remaining talukas have just 70 to 80 per cent coverage and we might not be able to complete this large gap in the next 10 days. We would have to seek an extension and complete the remaining in the coming months,’’ said a district official in-charge of the Aadhaar drive.
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Even as the issue of Aadhaar drive being made compulsory is being debated upon, the present government in the recent budget had given it a backing ensuring the government could carry out the linking of Aadhaar with beneficiaries for public distribution services or for the LPG subsidy and other benefits.
From last year itself, the Aadhaar drive was losing momentum. The government had earlier given a contract to an agency that had faltered and new tenders were floated for more agencies to carry out the drive. It was only after there were continuous demands for machines that the government granted extra machines after floating fresh tenders and appointing new agencies.
Presently, the district has about 298 machines—184 government machines and another 84 machines from Mahaonline and 30 other machines from private companies to reach out the population of the district. With these machines the drive intensified and the district has touched 90 per cent. “However even as government schoolchildren have largely been covered, the private schoolchildren are yet to be covered and another mass enrollment drive will be announced from June 15. For covering the remaining population, we have reached out to municipal corporations to have the machines installed at the ward offices to make it easier for citizens to enroll in the drive,’’ said the official dealing with the Aadhaar drive. Besides the machines being kept at ward offices, the same are also being installed at the zonal offices of the public distribution offices.
The district administration has said that they have been several complaints regarding faulty machines and some of them not registering the biometric impressions correctly or it being very faint. These complaints are also being attended to, causing further delay.
“It’s now at the near end of the drive that they are keeping the machines at the ward offices. They should have started it earlier and the city would not have lagged behind,’’ said SG Mohite, a senior citizen and member of a citiizen’s forum.