The central government, after revoking article 370, is now encouraging Jammu and Kashmir residents to enroll for a national identity card, i.e., Aadhaar card. The plan is to intensify Aadhaar enrolments especially in the Kashmir Valley where the penetration of the unique ID that is the key to government benefits is very low. It is also to ensure that advantages of welfare schemes reach to all residents, three government officials spoke requesting anonymity.
The process will stimulate once the bifurcation of the region into two Union Territories is complete on October 31, the officials added.
“Aadhaar is a successful tool for the transfer of subsidies and implementation of welfare schemes. The government is committed for the development of J&K, and Aadhaar will be one of the key tools that will help the Centre in fulfilling its commitment,” one of the officials said.
Although Aadhaar coverage in J&K has reached about 78%, there are pockets where its penetration is still very low; the official said pertaining to the Aadhaar dashboard run by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the statutory authority that is mandated to issue the Aadhaar numbers to Indian residents.
The Lok Sabha on August 6 gave its nod to the resolution scrapping special status to Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and flagged the way for the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories – J&K (with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature). The Rajya Sabha relinquished the resolution on August 5. The President, on August 9, gave rise to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. The changes will help promote the complete integration of the region with India and assure that all welfare programs of the Centre apply to the erstwhile state as well, Union home minister Amit Shah said in Parliament.
Aadhaar enrolment has been happening in J&K but certain areas, mainly in the Valley, need special attention, which can be done through banks, post offices and Common Services Centres (CSCs), a second official said. The ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) is willing to open CSCs at panchayats for this purpose, this person added. About 300,000 CSCs help the Centre in performing its eGovernance programs throughout the country.
“An intensive campaign [for Aadhaar enrolment] is expected after October 31 and CSCs need no more than a week to launch it in the entire J&K,” the first official said. The purpose of the government is to ensure that every household in the Valley must get benefits of Central schemes such as Ujjwala Yojana, he explained.
Spokespersons of UIDAI and MeitY did not immediately respond to queries seeking comment.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), was launched by the Narendra Modi government on May 1, 2016, to provide clean cooking fuel to poor households, especially in rural areas. The deposit-free cooking gas connections have not only helped more than 70 million poor households but also generated a tremendous amount of goodwill to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The move is also notable as J&K will also go for polls after it is formally made a Union Territory.