BENGALURU: In February this year, a contract labourer in Raichur got his Aadhaar number after seven years of running from pillar to post. Mixing of his fingerprints with that of his son — for no mistake of his own — had cost him more than Rs 30,000 before everything was set right.
This, according to highly placed sources in Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), was not a one-off incident. A recent internal communication between UIDAI officials had pegged that around 1 to 1.5% of all enrolments made in the last seven years have “mixed biometrics” — around six to nine lakh Aadhaar numbers in Karnataka and around 1.3 to 1.9 crore all over India.
UIDAI has identified the numbers with mixed biometrics and has written letters to the affected to rectify the same. Most of them with the issue are from rural areas, hoping to avail several welfare benefits from the government.
According to sources, biometric data of family members and relatives were mixed up during the initial phases of enrolment when it was taken up in a campaign mode. “In order to meet targets, some enrolling agencies used biometrics of accompanying relatives if they were not able to register the biometric data of the person who was getting enrolled. Ramifications of this are emerging now as some people are facing problems to avail Aadhaar-linked essential services,” an officer said.
Such faulty biometric data is flagged only if there is a complaint. So until an Aadhaar holder faces problems while using the number to enrol for a service, the person is unlikely to know that his or her biometric is mixed. Sources in Centre for E-governance in Karnataka said on a monthly basis, about 450 complaints are being received regarding the issue.
Following several complaints regarding the same, UIDAI has identified such mixed biometric data, written letters to Aadhaar holders, and is organising camps across the country to rectify the errors, the officer said. The dates of such camps are being communicated only to those affected. A UIDAI official, who did not want to be named, told The New Indian Express that “mixed biometrics” cases were being dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
“There are also several cases of biometric data not being captured properly. UIDAI is identifying such cases and addressing their grievances,” he said. When contacted over the phone for his response, UIDAI’s general manager for media and public outreach Vikas Shukla asked for a detailed questionnaire to be emailed. TNIE sent a questionnaire on Tuesday but a response is still awaited.