UIDAI CRACKS DOWN ON 1000 OPERATORS IN 3 MONTHS
The UIDAI has blacklisted or suspended around 1,000 operators while FIRs have been filed against 20 individuals in the last three months for malpractices such as charging for Aadhaar enrolment. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has also slapped a penalty of Rs 10,000 each on these erring operators besides removing them from its system. "We have received certain complaints... we have a zero tolerance policy on overcharging. We have identified about 1,000 such operators since December 2016... in the last three months, these operators have been removed from our system and we are also imposing a penalty of Rs 10,000 each on them," UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said. Removal of these operators from the system implies they would not be able to conduct enrolment for Aadhaar from anywhere in the country. UIDAI is the nodal body responsible for rolling out Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification number that identifies residents based on biometrics. The authority swung into action after it received certain complaints about some of these operators charging money for enrolments -- a service that is free of charge. Some other instances relate to overcharging for updation of Aadhaar details, for which UIDAI has prescribed a rate of Rs 25, while some pertained to operators departing from the set procedures. "We got certain complaints where people were being inconvenienced and sometimes they were being asked for money... So we have appealed that they (operators) should stick to the prescribed rates," he said. In more severe cases, FIRs have been filed. "We have filed FIRs against 20 persons," Pandey said, hoping that the action by the UIDAI would be a deterrent for others trying to overcharge or not following proper processes. The suspension period varies from 6 months to 10 years depending on the severity of the offence, he added. So far, he pointed out, action has been taken against 34,000 operators since the beginning of the Aadhaar program. The Aadhaar ecosystem has four lakh certified operators and at any point of time about 40,000 such people enrol residents across the country. As per the latest update, more than 113 crore Aadhaar IDs have been generated in the country and Aadhaar authentications have crossed the 500 crore mark, while 100 crore e-KYCs have been done on the platform. Also, to avoid a repeat of Dhoni-like episodes, the UIDAI has instructed the staff of its enrolment agencies to resist the urge of posing for selfies with
celebrities or retaining their Aadhaar details. It also emphasised that personal preferences should be kept separate from official duties. The instruction follows the public sharing of Aadhaar details of ace cricketer M S Dhoni after some photos were tweeted by the CSC E-Governance handle, including one capturing his personal details in the form of his Aadhaar acknowledgement slip. Swinging into action, the UIDAI has reached out to its regional offices to, in turn, sensitise enrolment agencies to "strictly" adhere to the rules of enrolment, even as the erring operator has been blacklisted. "We are sensitising all our operators and agencies to strictly follow the norms while enrolling such individuals... and not to mix enrolment operation with personal likes and dislikes... or get into the personal domain like clicking a selfie," Pandey said. Pandey's advice to the enrolment agencies: "Please don't be enthusiastic... this is an official business, so limit the activity to official business and if they want to do that (click photos)... they can meet the celebrity after office hours." UIDAI has blacklisted the Village Level Entrepreneur who had enrolled Dhoni for leaking Aadhaar receipt which carried his personal information. UIDAI is the nodal body responsible for rolling out Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification number that identifies residents based on biometrics. Pandey conceded that in the particular incident, the operator "in his enthusiasm" got his photo clicked with Dhoni and also took a picture of the acknowledgement slip. "First, taking the picture should not have been allowed. This is a controlled process and taking selfie should not have happened, and Mr Dhoni also should not have allowed it because it is a government process. Of course, we have taken action against the operator, that the operator should not have done this," he said. Pandey said he would also advise individuals enrolling for Aadhaar to decline such requests. "We will also request people who are getting enrolled that this is a serious official visit. At least, during the process, please strictly conform to the norms and if someone requests for a copy of the receipt or operator requests for selfie, they should deny it," he said. As per the latest update, more than 113 crore Aadhaar IDs have been generated in the country and Aadhaar authentications have crossed the 500 crore mark, while 100 crore e-KYCs have been done on the platform.
UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey