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Indian state urged to unlock biometrics of millions to allow Aadhaar enrollment

Officials seek reduced exclusion of poor from benefits programs


A coordinator with India’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) is urging the government of the state of Assam to unlock the biometrics of more than 3.8 million people who have been unable to register for Aadhaar numbers, the Economic Times reports.

Two hundred thousand of those are cases in which people have registered objections to decisions on their status, while 3.6 million have made claims for inclusion. Roughly 4 million people were excluded from the draft NRC list published in mid-2018, which held 33 million people.

One applicant told the Times that after registering his biometrics, he had applied three times for Aadhaar, with each application rejected. He had been informed that the state government had blocked his application, and said that as a student having an Aadhaar number is important to him.

A procedural document reported by the Economic Times states that in cases where people have made claims to be included on the NRC, separate IDs should be generated for them based on their submitted biometric data.

The plan for the NRC is to issue Aadhaar numbers to all people on the list who do not yet have one. Aadhaar enrollment is low in Assam, according to the report. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has asked deputy ministers to engage more private vendors to accelerate Aadhaar registration in order to meet a goal of universal enrollment in the state by years-end.

Biometric verification skipped after server issues delay benefits in Tamil Nadu district

Server problems are slowing down biometric processing and rendering the public distribution system (PDS) ineffective in the Trichy district of Tamil Nadu, according to the Times of India.

There are more than 1,200 ration distributors in the district, and some 780,000 Aadhaar holders eligible to receive benefits. One advocate told TOI that less than 40 percent of eligible recipients are receiving their benefits. The advocate suggested the problem stemmed from the configuration of a government server, which is causing lag.

A government official told TOI that the adoption of the unified ration card system has resulted in many more people receiving benefits, with the volume of transactions causing the slowdown. During the busy midday period, shop staff have been instructed to distribute essential goods without performing fingerprint identity verification.

The government hoped to have the issue resolved within days.

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