Aadhaar: UIDAI Mulls Allowing Common Services Centres For Non-Biometric Assistance
All phone service providers have been instructed to reverify details for all existing subscribers through Aadhaar-based e-KYC process.(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Aadhaar: UIDAI Mulls Allowing Common Services Centres For Non-Biometric Assistance

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The Unique Identification Authority of India is mulling allowing common service centres to provide non-biometric assistance for Aadhaar services, including helping public in filling online forms.

Allowing common service centres to carry out public assistance services for filling online Aadhaar forms for enrolment and updation activities, without involving any biometrics, is under consideration, a person familiar with the ongoing deliberations at the Aadhaar-issuing body said.

Village-level entrepreneurs, who run common service centres, have been asking the government to allow them to restart Aadhaar enrolment and updation services, after UIDAI restricted these centres and private operators from doing so to ensure security and safety of biometric data of 120 crore Aadhaar holders.

This service could be particularly helpful to users in rural areas or those not familiar with the online system, and common service centres can be allowed to charge a small fee for offering the assistance, the official said. A final decision is yet to be taken on the matter.

The proposal also dovetails into UIDAI’s ongoing plans to offer more services online.

The government had earlier promised to look into common service centres’ appeal that they be allowed to carry out Aadhaar-related work such as enrolment and updation of services.

Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while addressing village-level entrepreneurs at an event in November, had said the government will make all efforts to look for a solution to the ongoing problem.

Village-level entrepreneurs have been unhappy with UIDAI’s decision to stop Aadhaar services, contending that they had invested money in purchasing equipment and in training manpower for Aadhaar-related work.

Making a strong pitch on behalf of these centres, common service centres Chief Dinesh Tyagi had earlier said Aadhaar has helped people in rural India get an identity, and that the 12-digit identifier should be allowed to remain the foundation for common service centres as well.

Common service centres act as access points for delivery of digital services and there are nearly 3 lakh such centres operating across the country today.

Apart from delivering essential government and public utility services, this flagship rural outreach programme also delivers a range of social welfare schemes, financial services, education and skill development courses, healthcare, agriculture services and digital literacy.

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