Aadhaar enrolment was on in Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) since 2011 but residents of a remote village, Arai in Poonch district, were not able to get the unique identity all these years for a strange reason.
Almost all residents of Arai village suffer from a rare genetic disorder because of which they have disfigured hands. And it was creating a problem in Aadhaar enrolment, which needs fingerprint scan as a biometric parameter.
But thanks to the initiative of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to get the Aadhaar enrolments despite the inability to get proper fingerprints scan (due to the disorder) for the biometric registration, Arai residents are Aadhaar enrolled now to get the benefits of various government schemes.
“Our village have 87 people out of which more than 70 people are suffering with this anonymous bone disease because of which, their hands are disfigured. So they can’t keep their hands straight on the fingerprint scan machine for Aadhaar registration,” said a social worker, Moulvi Mohammad Fareed Malik, who too suffers from this disorder and brought the same to the notice of the UIDAI and district authorities.
He said as Aadhaar registration was not possible without proper fingerprint scan, Arai residents were getting deprived of Aadhaar-linked direct benefit transfer under various government schemes and even getting a bank account opened for their disability pension was difficult.
But going out of the way, UIDAI as an exception got the Aadhaar registration in the village done in December 2017 in a special three-day camp in which more than 50 enrolments were done on the basis of other biometric parameters than fingerprints.
“It took me two years to get Aadhaar enrolments done in my village so that people of Arai can get the benefits of governments schemes. Aadhaar is a big help for all of us because no one from Arai is in any government job. In the absence of profitable land holdings, most of us work as construction labourers or as coolies. Most of us depend on government pensions for our living and for that Aadhaar is a must,” Malik said.
In another such initiative, an Armyman of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir had lost his arms and eyes during his service in the state and was struggling for Aadhaar enrolment from a very long time as he was unable to fulfil the biometric conditions — eyes and fingerprint scan.
To help such people who do not have hands, or are blind or whose hands are disfigured, the UIDAI has devised a system.
Under this, the Armyman got his enrollment done under specially exempted body scan. “A special camp was held for the Armyman in December in Leh to get his Aadhaar enrolment done,” said a senior official in the UIDAI regional office in Chandigarh, requesting not to be named.
As per UIDAI guidelines, it’s mandatory for enrolment teams to upload the data online on its server within five days or the Aadhaar registration machines stop working. But this process was not working out in remote areas of J-K like Zanskar and Kargil. Therefore, some changes have been introduced in order to enroll people in such remote areas of J-K. “To reach a particular village or place in such areas, generally a team takes two to three days. As Internet accessibility was not available in such remote areas, we had taken special permission of 20 days for uploading the Aadhaar data in these remote areas. Some of such areas include Sankoo, Dras, Chiktan, Batlic, Leh, Shushala, Lubratuktuk, Khalsi,” said an official.