R DUTTA CHOUDHURY
GUWAHATI, Oct 12 - Though the Government of Assam has decided to start the process of issuing Aadhaar cards to the citizens from December, all the commercial banks have been authorised to act as service providers for issuing the unique identification cards to their account holders.Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that banks would only act as service providers and carry out the enrolment process, while the Aadhaar cards would be issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
Sources said that as the Government of India has directed all the banks to link all the accounts with the unique identification numbers by December 31, a decision was taken to authorise the banks to operate as service providers so that the account holders can get their Aadhaar cards. All the banks have been asked to operate at least in 10 percent of their branches as the service providing agencies for the benefit of the account holders.
The banks have also been directed to carry out the process of enrolment under CCTV surveillance and have discussions with the respective Deputy Commissioners before starting the process.
However, sources clarified that the banks would be able to act as the service providers only for account holders and not for anyone else.
Sources also revealed that the banks would collect the relevant data, including identity and address proof, photographs, fingerprints, photos of the eyes of the customers, etc. A bank official would act as the verification officer to verify the documents before sending all the data to the UIDAI.
The UIDAI, in turn, will verify the documents and data before issuing Aadhaar cards.
Sources admitted that there might be initial hiccups in the process as persons who do not have bank accounts may also turn up in various branches for enrolment and several such instances have already been reported.
Moreover, within a month, the post offices may also be allowed to act as service providers for persons seeking to get Aadhaar cards and training of the personnel of the post offices have already started. In fact, all over the country, banks and post offices are already acting as service providers, and only recently the banks in Assam have been allowed to provide the service to account holders.
It may be mentioned here that the State Cabinet has already decided to start the process of providing Aadhaar cards to citizens from December and the General Administration Department has been made the nodal agency to coordinate with the UIDAI for the purpose.