State Aadhaar coverage crosses 80% mark

The Aadhaar card coverage in Goa has crossed 80%, probably the highest in the country. Authorities are hoping to achieve 100% coverage in Goa by December end.

Vijay Saxena, joint director, department of planning, statistics and evaluation, which is the nodal department for Aadhaar project in Goa, said that till date there are 71 stations operating to enroll citizens under Aadhaar all over Goa.

Since August 2011, when the aadhaar project was launched in Goa, 11,85,278 people have been enrolled under Aadhaar. From this, 10,66,750 Aadhaar cards have already been issued.

But Saxena said that when Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), visited Goa on August 30, 2012, he assured to expedite issue of the Aadhaar cards that have not been issued yet. Saxena also referred to the fact that it is essential for citizens to have Aadhaar cards to avail many of the government's social welfare schemes. "Beneficiaries of such schemes should not panic if they have not received their Aadhaar cards. Till the time they receive the card, the enrollment ID number given on acknowledgment slip will be accepted by the authorities," Saxena said.

The joint director said that Aadhaar cards that have been issued are already being used by citizens in various ways including opening of bank accounts in nationalized banks. Saxena pointed out that, the chief minister has announced that from April 1, 2013, no benefits of schemes will be released unless Aadhaar numbers are provided by beneficiaries. Importantly, there are no complaints against the already issued Aadhaar cards in Goa.

Saxena said the UIDAI chairman has praised Goa's success in the Aadhaar project. Nilekani not only appreciated Goa's high coverage but also praised the quality of enrollment in Goa, due to which rejection is less than 1%. In other states, the rejection is as high as 8%. Saxena said that Nilekani also praised chief minister Manohar Parrikar for showing commitment to making beneficiary-oriented schemes in Goa Aadhaar compliant.

Nilekani's appreciation of Goa's initiatives resulted in the UIDAI approving the state's proposal to make various social welfare schemes Aadhaar compliant. The department of planning, statistics and evaluation had proposed that various Goan schemes like Dayanand Social Security scheme, issue of ration card, issue of birth and death certificate and Griha Laxmi scheme should be made Aadhaar compliant.

The UIDAI has now sanctioned Goa a sum of one crore as part amount for the computerization and integration of Aadhaar numbers into computer databases of various beneficiary-oriented schemes. The total amount to be released is 10 crore.

Asked why Goa could not achieve 100% coverage, Saxena said that the authorities lost almost three months during the Assembly elections. During this time, there were no officials, no premises available to set up enrollment stations and also no vehicles.

The downside of the project is that the two important talukas of Bardez and Salcette have still not reached 70% coverage. "But the department is trying its best to deploy more machines to increase the coverage and achieve 100% coverage by December-end," Saxena said.

The five talukas with high Aadhaar coverage in Goa are Quepem (89%), Mormugao (83%), Canacona (78%), Bicholim (74%) and Sattari (73%). [TOI]