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Govt to push Aadhaar enrolment in Kashmir

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 27-08-2019
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The Centre plans to intensify Aadhaar enrolments in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), particularly the Kashmir Valley where the penetration of the unique ID that is the key to government benefits is very low, so as to ensure that benefits of welfare schemes reach to all residents, three government officials said requesting anonymity.

The process will accelerate once the bifurcation of the region into two Union Territories is complete on October 31, the officials added.

“Aadhaar is a successful tool for the transfer of subsidies and implementation of welfare schemes. The government is committed for development of J&K, and Aadhaar will be one of the key tools that will help the Centre in fulfilling its commitment,” one of the officials said.

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Although Aadhaar coverage in J&K has reached about 78%, there are pockets where its penetration is still very low, the official said referring to the Aadhaar dashboard run by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the statutory authority that is mandated to issue the Aadhaar numbers to Indian residents.

The Lok Sabha on August 6 gave its nod to the resolution scrapping special status to Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and paved way for the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories – J&K (with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature). The Rajya Sabha passed the resolution on August 5. The President, on August 9, gave ascent to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. The changes will facilitate the complete integration of the region with India and ensure that all welfare programmes of the Centre apply to the erstwhile state as well, Union home minister Amit Shah said in Parliament.

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Aadhaar enrolment has been happening in J&K but certain areas, mainly in the Valley, need special attention, which can be done through banks, post offices and Common Services Centres (CSCs), a second official said. The ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) is willing to open CSCs at panchayats for this purpose, this person added. About 300,000 CSCs help the Centre in implementing its eGovernance programmes throughout the country.

“An intensive campaign [for Aadhaar enrolment] is expected after October 31 and CSCs need no more than a week to launch it in the entire J&K,” the first official said. The purpose of the government is to ensure that every household in the Valley must get benefits of Central schemes such as Ujjwala yojana, he explained.

Spokespersons of UIDAI and MeitY did not immediately respond to queries seeking comment.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), was launched by the Narendra Modi government on May 1, 2016 to provide clean cooking fuel to poor households especially in rural areas. The deposit-free cooking gas connections have not only helped more than 70 million poor households but also generated tremendous amount of goodwill to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The move is also significant as J&K will also go for polls after it is formally made a Union Territory.

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