mid-day editorial: Aadhaar should give us more rights, not less

Published: Dec 13, 2017, 06:07 IST | mid-day correspondent

The Aadhaar card angst continues to dog people, pensioners especially. A rule mandating that Aadhaar be linked to pension accounts has threatened the very livelihood of senior citizens

The Aadhaar card angst continues to dog people, pensioners especially. A rule mandating that Aadhaar be linked to pension accounts has threatened the very livelihood of senior citizens.

There are numerous issues to iron out, like technical failures in linking Aadhaar to the pension accounts, or fingerprints not registering on the scanners, which have resulted in the pensions of many being stopped. A number of seniors say that their pensions have stopped because their Aadhaar card has not been linked. One senior’s pension had been stopped because her fingerprints were not registered with the biometric system.

This was the common case with several seniors, some of whom were not even informed why their pension had been stopped. They had to make visits to different branches to find out. Once they ascertained the reason, they were told to get their iris scanned at some other centre.

We think registration centres should be equipped to carry out iris scans besides fingerprints anyway. Senior citizens often face a problem with fingerprint scanners because the grooves on their fingers wear out and fade with time and age. With an iris scanner, the center will have a back up. This will ensure that elderly citizens’ pensions are not stopped for no fault of theirs, and they are not forced to rush to different places to register again.

We also have an app or two for this purpose, but it is important to take into account that this age group is not too tech savvy, so it is important that we have an easier back-up for silver-haired citizens. Awareness camps in housing societies to inform senior citizens of Aadhaar, the linking process, the importance of doing so, and the centres where this can be done - this is another step in the right direction.

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