Aadhaar seeding sets off a scramble in Bengaluru ahead of IT filing deadline
By Christin Mathew Philip | Express News Service | Published: 17th July 2017 03:31 AM |
BENGALURU: With the deadline for filing Income Tax returns now just about a fortnight away, the beeline of harried citizens outside Aadhaar enrollment centers is growing.
With Aadhaar becoming mandatory to file tax returns from July 1 this year and most enrollment centres in the city shutting operations, people are forced to wait for long hours at the few centres that are working. Touts are making a killing in the prevailing situation, charging as much as Rs 600 per Aadhaar card though it is supposed to be issued free.
Many banks and mobile operators are also sending SMSes asking their customers to link the Aadhaar number. “Kindly furnish your Aadhaar number along with a copy of Aadhaar card to your SBI Branch immediately to seed to your SB account. Please ensure seeding before 31.07.2017. In the case of non-compliance, your account is liable to be blocked (sic)”, reads an SMS from SBI.
“As per Government’s directive, it is mandatory to link Aadhaar card with your Vodafone mobile number. Visit your nearest Vodafone Store with Aadhaar no./card to ensure continued services” reads a message for mobile phone service provider Vodafone.
UIDAI recently issued a directive saying that agencies conducting Aadhaar enrollment will have to shift to either government or municipal premises by August 31. This forced many Aadhaar enrolment agencies, including at BangaloreOne centres in the city, to stop enrollment.
The staff at the BangaloreOne centres at Shanti Nagar and M S Building said they are no longer enrolling for Aadhaar cards. “A majority of the BangaloreOne centres stopped enrolling for Aadhaar due to technical reasons", said a staffer.
At the BangaloreOne centre functioning in the BBMP Jayanagar office, a staffer said they are issuing tokens only on Mondays. “You will have to come by 7 am on Monday to get a token. We will give you the application form for enrollment once you get a token”.
When Express approached an Aadhaar enrollment centre in RBI Colony in Jayanagar posing as a customer, the operator demanded Rs 600 per card. “We have stopped enrolment for Aadhaar, but we can get it if you pay Rs 600 per card”.
A staffer at another Aadhaar enrollment centre in Basavanagudi admitted that they are charging Rs 100 from each customer.
“Most enrollment centres are now closed, so existing operators are taking advantage of it. I was forced to pay the amount since I was desperate to get an Aadhaar number to file I-T returns” said K Swathy, an applicant in Basavanagudi.
Yoga Sai Prakash V, president of Karnataka Aaadhar Operators Welfare Development Association, said, “A majority of the operators have stopped enrollments because of various issues over the past few months. UIDAI has failed to address technical issues in operations but they are blacklisting operators without any warning”.
He said operators are also facing a delay in getting payments from UIDAI.
When contacted, a senior UIDAI official said they will soon facilitate enrollment centres at bank or post offices. “Aadhaar enrolment is free. But operators can charge Rs 25 for updation of details on the existing Aadhaar cards. Action will be taken against those who are fleecing customers based on complaints”.
The Status in Karnataka
6,46,60,412: Total Population (projected 2015)
6,09,42,781: Aadhaar assigned
94%: Percentage of coverage (on May 15)