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NRC: NRC coordinator urges Assam government to unlock biometric details of 3.8 million


Guwahati: National Register of Citizens (NRC) coordinator Hitesh has urged the Assam government to unlock biometric details of more than 3.8 million people who appeared for the claims and objection process.

Locking of biometric details has resulted in these people not getting Aadhaar numbers, he said in a letter to the state government.

However, a senior official told ET on condition of anonymity, “The NRC coordinator has written to the state government to unlock the biometric details. But Aadhaar does not confer citizenship. Even NRC does not confer citizenship.”

About 3.6 million people have put in claims for inclusion while nearly 200,000 people registered their objections. These people were called for the subsequent hearings where provisions were made to obtain biometric details.

Nearly 33 million people had applied for inclusion in NRC while about 4 million people were excluded from the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018.

An applicant, who did not wish to be identified, said: “During NRC hearing time, the home and political department took my biometrics details. My family members also gave their details. I have applied thrice for Aadhaar enrolment but the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI, which administers Aadhaar) notified me that Assam’s home and political department blocked my Aadhaar. I am a student and having Aadhaar is very important for me.”

Another person, whose details are frozen, said, “For availing several government schemes we need Aadhaar number. However, despite repeated attempts, I am not getting Aadhaar as my details are locked.”

The standard operating procedure (SOP) to dispose of claims and objections over the draft NRC states that the Assam government, along with the UIDAI, will carry out biometric enrolment of the applicants during the process.

According to the SOP sent to district registrars of citizens’ registration, separate IDs based on the biometric data will be generated for people who have made claims to be included in the NRC and those who are facing objections to their inclusion on the draft list.

Once the final NRC is published, the people who figure in it will be issued the usual Aadhaar number that is given to the legal residents of the country. In case a person already has the Aadhaar number, and is also a part of the claim or objection process, his or her Aadhaar number will be obtained.

As NRC was underway, Aadhaar enrolment was low in Assam. Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal recently asked deputy commissioners (DCs) to engage more private vendors to carry out the Aadhaar enrolment expediently and remove those vendors delaying the process so that hundred percent enrolments can be achieved by the year-end.

He also stressed on the need to engage local youths in the process for creation of income opportunities while speeding up the process. Referring to the Centre’s act of making Aadhaar registration mandatory for its schemes, Sonowal said it was a step to prevent middlemen from siphoning off money meant for the poor and he asked the DCs to give utmost priority to stepping up Aadhaar enrolment.

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