August 31, 2012 1:14:51 am
After trying in vain for a year,58-year-old W S Chaudhari,a visually impaired person from Thane,could finally enroll for Aadhaar or the unique identification number project thanks to the National Association for the Blind (NAB),India. The association,which is facilitating Aadhaar enrollment for people with disabilities,kickstarted the initiative in Mumbai on August 29. Around 200 were enrolled till Thursday. Besides the visually impaired,it will cover people with other forms of disability.
We received complaints from several visually impaired people who said they faced a lot of inconvenience while trying to enroll themselves. They had to stand in long queues,and some said they were being denied enrollment. Thats when we felt that we should organise a camp to facilitate enrollment of the differently abled. The response has been good. This facility is expected to be extended to other parts of India,too,as NAB has centres across the country, said Pallavi Kadam,director,employment,rehabilitation and advocacy cell,NAB.
NAB approached the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for this camp. Subsequently,Karvy,which has been appointed by the BMC for Aadhaar enrollments,finalised the dates for the camp from August 29 to September 1. However,we plan to extend the dates. Since I am visually impaired myself,I can understand the challenges we have to face daily. We are happy to play the role of a facilitator as Aadhaar will empower the differently abled to access services like formal banking system and help them avail themselves of services offered by the government or private sector, said Poonam Pardesi,advocacy manager,advocacy cell,NAB,India.
Since many do not have a ration,PAN or other identity cards or address proof,the NAB asked UIDAI whether a disability certificate,validated by a government authorised hospital,could be used. The proposal was accepted. I tried several times to obtain an enrollment form but in vain. Today,I am satisfied that I could enroll myself with ease. I sell stationery and other items on local trains. An Aadhaar card will be of help to my family, said Chaudhari,who completed his enrollment at the NAB office on Thursday.
Similarly,since nine-year-old Sahil Kolte,a resident of Borivali,suffers from cerebral palsy,it was difficult to get his thumb impression . The NAB initiative has come as a boon for us. People here understand the problems my son faces and accordingly help us, said Prajakta Kolte,his mother.
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