Aadhaar Enrollment Centres reopen for biometrics capture as India Stack architect argues for portable access

Aadhaar Enrollment Centres reopen for biometrics capture as India Stack architect argues for portable access

Protocols for the reopening of Aadhaar Enrollment Centres to establish and re-enroll biometric national identity have been outlined by the government, The Shillong Times reports.

The measures announced include advice for ill staff and applicants to stay away, thermal screening for applicants, and thorough cleaning before and after business hours. Frequently-touched areas like door knobs and chairs are to be sanitized every two hours, enrollments should take place in a large and well-ventilated room, and applicants will wear masks except during facial image capturing. Hand sanitizer is also to be used before and after fingerprint biometric enrollment.

Staff of the Aadhaar Kendras are also expected to follow the same protocols as applicants. They are also directed to clean fingerprinting devices with lint-free cloths and rubbing alcohol after each enrollment.

Management of the Kendras are expected to ensure that social distancing is respected.

The facilities are also expected to allow online appointments where possible to avoid overcrowding, and those that offer it are expected to turn away applicants without appointments.

Health advisories will be posted, and Enrollment Centre staff are barred from travelling to COVID-19 hotspots. Staff are also asked to advise applicants from hotspots not to travel to Enrollment Centres.

The statement also prohibits tobacco use in and around the Centres.

Aadhaar’s next step must be service portability: India Stack architect

Digital infrastructure investments in the country should enable major cost reductions for access to food, loans and healthcare by the millions of migrant workers who travelled home in dangerous conditions as the lockdown kicked in, Dr. Pramod Varma, Aadhaar and India Stack’s chief architect told the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS). Many of the country’s poorest workers had their service access hampered by being in a different physical location than their families, Varma says.

Varma recounted the story of a migrant worker travelling home, who learned of an illness in his family on the way. He could not access to and transfer money while travelling across the country, meaning he could neither help his family be getting funds to them, or buy food for himself. Public distribution system (PDS) portability had been explicitly requested by Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI’s) former chairman Nandan Nilekani, according to Varma.

No one solution or website can enable this, Varma says, but rather a build-up of infrastructure is needed on which solutions can be developed and delivered.

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