Friday, October 14, 2011

My experience getting an "Aadhar" card...

February 2009: The Government of India established a program with the aim of giving all it's citizen a unique identification number and create a centralized database of all it's citizen along with their biometric information.

The system launched by the Unique Identification Authority of India, is called Aadhar, literally meaning 'support' or 'foundation' in many languages. It's logo is a yellow sun with fingerprints embedded in the center.

The Aadhar logo.

Aadhar is a 12 digit unique number given to all of it's citizen along with basic demographic and biometric (fingerprints and iris scan) information.The main aim of this is to create a common identity card for the citizens which could be used for all kind of verification purposes. It would also help in eliminating forged and fake identities. Another interesting thing is that the 12 digit unique number generated would be completely random, that is, it won't be generated in any particular order to remove discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion or geography.

It was launched from the tribal village Tembhli, Shadha, Nandurbar, Maharashtra. The first person to receive a Aadhar card was Ranjana Sonawane.

Ranjana Sonawane after she got enrolled for the card.

The total cost of this project has been placed at about ₹15,00,00,00,00,000 ($ 33.45 billion USD).

Other countries having a similar national identification numbers include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Netherland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and others.

October 3: So, that was the day, I went ahead to a government office to get my work done, with a positive attitude at first, after all it's been headed by Nandan Nilekani. I reached the place at about 9:45 AM, and was faced by a small queue, of about 10-15 people.And then things started to get worse.

Nandan Nilekani

Some people, mainly due to some "connections" had got an un-authorized entry from a back door to get their work done out of the line. I felt like a fool to stand there. I mean this was the perfect example and the root cause of corruption. It's not only the government that is been responsible for corruption, it's actually us, who do such acts almost everyday and promote this. The scheduled time for the opening of the gate was 10:00 AM, but due to the delay caused by "those out of the line people", the gate could open only at about 10:30 AM. I actually saw a worker coming at 10:45 AM.

Other problem standing in a queue is when the people behind you keeps on talking and goes on talking. I mean you want to peacefully stand there, wait for your turn, get your work done and move out. But it makes matter really worse, when the people just behind you keeps on yelling, talking and laughing. Maybe there is nothing wrong in it, but that's not how one should behave at a queue. What makes matter worse, are children running, playing, pulling and the worse, pushing your legs to make their way. First time, it's okay, they are children, second time, ah, just be careful next time, third time, okay this is getting me out of control, fourth time, okay, one more time, and no one would be worse than me, fifth time, and you have a boiling head. But considering the queue, I resisted to do anything.

About half and a hour later, our turn came. All our papers were ready, the identity proof and the address proof. So, we went inside, and then I knew, the worse was yet to come.

Only four out of six systems were working, that mainly slowed down the process. Now when you go there, and sit down, the person actually works on a Samsung laptop and you can see everything on a monitor screen facing towards you. My monitor wasn't working, so everytime, I had to stand up, head towards the person and then peek into her laptop to check my details. That was really annoying. Secondly, the person didn't know how to use a laptop and has certainly never used the soft keys. She was literally banging on the keyboard. I am sure, the keyboard will not last more than 3 months for her. Secondly, it took her a whole 2 minutes to write just my name, and that too through my school ID. The reason? Again, she didn't know how to use a laptop. She again and again kept complaining that the cursor of this laptop wasn't good, and I just couldn't control my laughter seeing her. What was happening was that everytime she used to type something, her palm got touched to the touchpad, and that changed the position of the cursor, and that generated random names. Like the last part of my name came before the first part, i.e, vikRit. She typed my name nearly 5-6 times, and it was annoying.

Secondly is the finger print scan. What happens is that, there is the finger print reader, and you place your fingers and thumbs in turn, and then there is a meter on the screen whether the procedure was a "Pass" or a "Fail". Like if the fingers are not correctly spaced or not correctly pressed, so that gives the procedure a low score, and anything below 50% is a fail. So, for the first time, I placed my finger myself, and got a 82%. Second time, she corrected me, and asked me to place my finger without any space, in short she controlled my hand, which eventually resulted into a "Fail". Second time, she again controlled my hand, placed my finger, "Fail". Third time, finally, it "Passed" with a 59%. That clearly showed their way of doing wasn't correct, you don't place your fingers, with all the fingers glued, there should be an optimum space between any two fingers.

Another thing which catched my eye the fact that, there was a small message displayed at the bottom of their screen, which said, "This copy of windows is not genuine". And I literally started laughing seeing that. I mean such a big program, and they are running on pirated Windows?

Then there was the address verification, I am a school going kid, I am 17, I don't have a voter's ID, what could have been my address proof. Their website says, the school ID would do. But at that time they refused, and then we asked what could have been my address proof? They said the address proof of my parents would be my address proof, so we gave the address proof to them, what was actually my mother's address proof, and so now my mother didn't had her address proof. And this was the time, when my experience in Cross Country Running came into it's application. There were no Xerox shop nearby, and I had to run about 3 kms, to and fro, to get my work done. But it felt nice running after a long long long time. However, I could feel the pain in my legs for the next two days, but that's fine.

All things done, and even after such a "roller-coaster" experience, our registration was finally completed. We got a acknowledge receipt and that the card would reach in about 60-90 days. Let's see when it really reaches.

My acknowledgment receipt. (Some information hidden for obvious reasons)

Get yourself enrolled now!

Click here for Aadhar's Official Website.

Click here for checking your present status of your Aadhar Card.

UPDATE: I have received my Aadhar Card in early march.