The UIDAI is mulling allowing Common Service Centres (CSCs) to provide non-biometric assistance for Aadhaar enrolment and updating services, including helping the public in filling online forms, according to a Government source.
Village-level Entrepreneurs or VLEs, who run CSCs, have been asking the government to allow them to restart Aadhaar enrolment and updating 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.
A person familiar with the ongoing deliberations at the Aadhaar-issuing body said allowing CSCs to carry out public assistance services for filling online Aadhaar forms for enrolment and updation activities, without involving any biometrics, is under consideration.
This service could be particularly helpful to users in rural areas or those not familiar with the online system, and CSCs 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 Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) ongoing plans to offer more services online.
The Government had earlier promised to look into CSC’s appeal that they be allowed to carry out Aadhaar-related work such as enrolment and updation of services.
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while addressing VLEs at an event in November, had said the Government will make all efforts to look for a solution to the ongoing imbroglio.
VLEs have been unhappy with UIDAI’s decision to stop Aaddhar 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, CSC 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 ‘aadhaar’ or foundation for CSCs as well.
CSCs act as access points for delivery of digital services and there are nearly three lakh such centres operating across the country today.
Apart from delivering essential Government and public utility services, this flagship rural outreach program also delivers a range of social welfare schemes, financial services, education and skill development courses, healthcare, agriculture services and digital literacy.