After the government administered digital kiosks in far flung areas of the country were stopped from providing Aadhaar enrolment and updation services after a security issue had come to light, the Common Service Centers (CSC) are gearing up to open a new center in district – close to 700 centres by next year — to re offer services around the unique identity number, a top government official told ET.
Dinesh Tyagi, CEO of the CSC e-Governance Services, told ET that after a two year hiatus, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has given a green signal for the centers to restart the services.
The service however, can only be provided at CSCs owned offices for now and not through the entire network of 3.6 lakh CSCs. Currently, there is one CSC office in every state and the government is gearing up to open a new center in every district.
“These offices will be modelled after the Aadhaar Seva Kendra in terms of facilities as well as ensuring highest standards of security for the unique identity number,” said Tyagi.
He added that these centres will be run by officials who are on the rolls of the CSC e-Governance Services, which comes under the ministry of electronics and IT as compared to the CSCs which are run by an independent network of village level entrepreneurs. Tyagi said that UIDAI has put certain conditions such as requirement of a minimum number of terminals and personal in order to qualify for such services. “They may be viable in some areas, but not viable in others, so we are discussing this with UIDAI,” he said.
The enrolment and updation of the 12 digit number through CSCs was a big advantage for UIDAI since the network of CSCs has become very vast especially in the rural areas of the country. These services were also a big revenue generator for CSCs.
ET had reported earlier this year that Anurag Singh Thakur, the former head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, has written to electronics and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asking to restart Aadhaar services across common service centres (CSCs), complaining that discontinuation of the work through these village-level digital kiosks had caused inconvenience to the public.
The initial contract of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which administers the Aadhaar scheme, with the CSC ended in December 2017. The operators of the CSCs have invested in equipment and manpower to carry out the Aadhaar work and discontinuation of the services is causing them significant financial distress, Thakur had said.
The CSCs have invested close to Rs 1,000 crore in the equipment for Aadhaar enrolment and to update the biometric ID, and have generated close to 25 crore Aadhaar numbers, Tyagi had told ET earlier.
Source: Economic Times