Geeta Gupta : New Delhi, Sat Aug 25 2012, 

With the Delhi government voicing concern over loss of Aadhaar letters during transit — Newsline reported many are being dumped in bulk at certain places — India Post, the designated carrier for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has acknowledged that it struggled to deal with bulk orders during Phase I of the project owing to shortage of manpower and equipment.

The postal department, which was responsible for printing, dispatch and delivery of Aadhaar numbers, said the printing work has been outsourced and it will now only dispatch and deliver under Phase II.

Y P S Mohan, Chief General Manager (Business Development and Marketing Directorate), Department of Posts, told Newsline there were problems and shortage of resources “but Phase II will be a smooth sail”.

“We are very low on manpower and cities have expanded very fast. If a postman had a 3-km area under him, now the same has increased to 10-km or more.”

Mohan said the UIDAI had initially placed an order for printing 25 lakh letters in 2010. These were printed in Delhi and Kolkata.

“The UIDAI articles is a one-off project which will get over in another couple of years. But it was a very big challenge for us. Enrolment started on a large scale in 2011 and we had the task of printing, dispatch and delivery of 2.5 crore speed posts a month. We have handled a maximum of 11 lakh articles in a single day. But our capacity was less, we were ill-equipped to take up such mass printing, and the UIDAI understood that. It was then decided to outsource printing. From January 2012 onward, we have been able to clear our backlog,” Mohan said.

Given that the official time limit for delivery of speed post is seven days, Mohan said postmen have been asked to devote extra time. “Since the beat areas have expanded and there are too many letters to be delivered, post offices have been asked to ensure accuracy and take extra time if needed,” he said.

Meanwhile, UIDAI chairperson Nandan Nilekani met Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday and proposed implementation of the Aadhaar-based “business correspondent (BC)” model in Delhi, so far implemented in rural areas to facilitate doorstep banking services to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Under this model, accredited agents provide doorstep banking services using a micro-ATM. People use their Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts and the portable ATMs work with biometric authentication as identification proof.

A senior government official said: “The Chief Minister has given a go ahead that all major social security schemes in Delhi, Delhi Annashree Yojna to begin with, be primarily based on Aadhaar.” Officials of the UIDAI said modalities of the model will be worked out to help the Delhi government in implementing schemes.

Sujata Chaturvedi, Deputy Director General of UIDAI’s Delhi zone, said: “The idea behind implementation of the BC model here is to enable the Delhi government in implementing various social security schemes more effectively. Modalities of working out this model in Delhi are still being worked out in consultation with other stakeholders. While the Delhi government will lead the schemes, UIDAI will provide support services with the use of Aadhaar, like direct cash transfers to beneficiaries.”