The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will set up Aadhaar Seva Kendras (ASK) similar to the Passport Seva Kendras to ease the process of enrolment for Aadhaar, People will also be able to update their Aadhaar information, “in more convenient and secure manner”, UIDAI said in a statement on Tuesday.
Compared to now where people visit the Aadhaar enrollment centres as walk-ins, the ASKs, which will be supervised by UIDAI employees, will provide “appointment based Aadhaar enrollment and update services to any resident in safe environs through multiple stations working simultaneously”. The ASKs will continue to have some counters for walk-in customers, sources in the UIDAI said.
CEO of UIDAI Ajay Bhushan Pandey said, through the ASKs, “we are building hassle-free and resident-friendly enrollment and update facility infrastructure to ensure ease in Aadhaar related services to residents”. Pandey said that in the first phase nearly 114 ASKs will be established in 53 cities and towns, including capitals of all the states. The ASKs, he said, will be “in addition to the centres operating in banks, post offices and in government premises”. He also said that UIDAI is “is endeavouring identity inclusion and creating awareness about usage of Aadhaar in various forms such as masked Aadhaar, QR code, Offline Aadhaar XML, eAadhaar, mAadhaar, etc., in a manner so that there is no denial of services and benefits with Aadhaar and people’s privacy vis-a-vis Aadhaar is enhanced many folds”.
The objective of these new Kendras, UIDAI’s statement said, “is to ensure that the residents seeking services need not have to wait in queue as they can book a prior appointment and visit the Kendra accordingly” and the ASKs will “also serve the special needs of those residents who need to be allowed enrolment and update through exception process”. The exception processes can include cases like if a person needs to update some of their demographic information including their name, or the date of birth more than once.
In its judgment regarding the linking of PAN to Aadhaar in June 2017 the Supreme Court had stated that it is important to take proper measures so that “confidence is instilled among the public at large that there is no chance of unauthorised leakage of data whether it is done by tightening the operations of the contractors who are given the job of enrolment, they being private persons or by prescribing severe penalties to those who are found guilty of leaking the details, is the outlook of the Government”. The apex court had emphasised that “measures in this behalf are absolutely essential and it would be in the fitness of things that proper scheme in this behalf is devised at the earliest”.
UIDAI sources mentioned that after the judgment the authority had started phasing out enrolment using private centres and shifted them to banks, post offices and government premises, “to make Aadhaar related services in urban and rural areas in safe and secure environs”. The phasing out or closing of enrollment centres at private places to banks and post offices and now to ASKs that are “directly under UIDAI supervision are steps in the course to comply with the direction of the Supreme Court,” UIDAI sources said. UIDAI will set up 30,000 supervised enrollment stations in banks, post offices and government premises and this number will go up with the ASKs, each of which will have eight or 16 stations “depending on the population of that city” and they will become functional over the next few months.