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Too many applicants, too few machines

Inadequate number of UID machines in Navi Mumbai means residents have to stand in line for long hours, often to be turned away; civic body claims repeated pleas to state's Information Technology dept have gone unheard 

There seems to be no end to the UID woes faced by Navi Mumbai residents. After wrong addresses cropping up on over 1,000 forms and website glitches, the hapless residents are now finding it difficult to enrol for their UIDs owing to the inadequate number of UID machines installed in the city. Officials of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) claim that they have written to the state's Information Technology (IT) department requesting for new machines, but have not been supplied with any.


In the last year, officials of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation have
enrolled around 4.5 lakh people for UIDs, using
the 71 machines provided
to the satellite city. file pic


In the last year, officials of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) have enrolled around 4.5 lakh people for UIDs, using the 71 machines provided to satellite city. Keeping in mind that 71-odd machines aren't enough, the municipal body has requested the state government to provide another 100 machines for Navi Mumbai. The silence of the state government on the matter means that applicants have to sweat it out in long queues every day.

Arun Bhise from the Citizens' Unity Forum said, "The enrolment of a single person generally takes 15-20 minutes, so one machine can enrol a maximum of 36 persons in a day. It is infuriating to wait for hours for work that takes 15 minutes. What's more, these machines regularly develop technical problems, delaying enrolment further. It has happened several times that operators at the UID centres have made people wait, and then sent them away. There is a dire need to have more machines, so that the people don't suffer like this."

Officialspeak
Suresh Patil, deputy municipal commissioner of Navi Mumbai said, "At present, we have a total of 71 machines for the enrolment process, of which 59 are functional. As per the population of Navi Mumbai, we require around 170 machines for smooth proceedings. We have written letters to the IT department of the state government asking it to increase the number of UID machines in Navi Mumbai. However, we have not received any response from the department on the matter."

Problems in the funding arrangement for the UIDAI project cropped up last month, when the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance rejected the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, in its present form. But the UIDAI project is likely to get funds from the Prime Minister's Office for a while.

"The UIDAI project has got assurance from the Prime Minister's Office, at least till the first 20 crore applicants complete the enrolment process," said Aggarwal.

The Other Side
Rajesh Aggarwal, secretary of the state IT department, said, "We have enrolled around 3.6 crore people for the UID project and provided over two crore people with UID numbers in Maharashtra so far. We cannot increase the number of machines in one go, as this might put extra load on the central server in Bangalore, creating problems. Enrolment under the UID project is going to be operational for another 2-3 years, so every one will get chance to enrol."

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