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The Hindu
The Hindu
Aabha Raveendran

Fake reports on Aadhaar enrolment create confusion

Recent reports that Aadhaar enrolment centres are not allowed to function on holidays have created confusion among the public, while Akshaya entrepreneurs in the State suspect a deliberate attempt to sabotage their activities in favour of private common service centres (CSCs).

Reports that appeared in some local dailies last week are the result of misinterpretation of two orders from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in May 2021 and August 2022. It had led to fake news getting widely circulated on social media causing confusion and inconvenience to public. The May 2021 order bans Aadhaar enrolment during odd hours (from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and states that operators (Akshaya centres in the case of Kerala) who violate the order may be disassociated or blacklisted based on the seriousness of the action. The order was intended to strengthen/clean up the Aadhaar enrolment ecosystem.

Based on the August 2022 order, regional offices of UIDAI can permit operators to work on all seven days of a week except for national/local holidays. UIDAI has also noted that the arrangement could address the the needs of people who require the assistance of their family members for Aadhaar enrolment, such as senior citizens and differently abled. The order says that the services thus provided shall not be considered under odd-hour enrolment. The regional centres are to ensure that at least 10% of operators function round the week.

“These two orders have been wrongly mixed in the reports that are being circulated lately to mean that Akshaya centres that act as Aadhaar enrolment centres in the State are not allowed to work on holidays, and that enrolment shall be carried out only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.,” said Stephen John, State president of Forum for Akshaya Centre Entrepreneurs.

The forum also sees a step-by-step and deliberate effort to defame and sabotage the Akshaya network in the State in favour of CSCs. “We have come across several situations in which the media as well as the government are found to be favouring CSCs as against Akshaya centres. We are bound by several rules and regulations with regard to the fees to be collected and the services to be rendered, while the CSCs aren’t. Hence we are struggling to survive, while new CSCs are cropping up every day,” Mr. John said.

He added that a few Akshaya centres started functioning at 7 a.m. and late till 9 p.m. for the convenience of the public, which was well within the rules.

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