I was in Bengaluru last week and decided to enroll for Aadhaar during this occasion. Aadhaar is a massive project by the Indian government to provide every Indian citizen an unique identification number. My parents informed me that the enrollment center nearest to our home was the Jayanagar Head Post Office. Proof of age and address are needed for the enrollment and so I headed to the post office with my passport.
Though it was a Saturday, there were only a few people buzzing around a post office official who was checking their proof of identification. I could not get an Aadhaar enrollment form since he had run out of forms, but informed me that I could get a photocopy of the form at the photocopy shop that is beside the post office. I headed out there since I needed a photocopy of the front (for date of birth) and back (for address) of my passport anyway.
The Aadhaar enrollment form is surprisingly bare, requiring these basic information: name, sex, DOB, address, email and phone number. It was refreshing to see transgender listed as an option for the sex entry. The official checked my form and my passport and let me in to the enrollment area.
The enrollment setup for Aadhaar is simple and fits on a small table. It consists of a computer with two displays, a webcam, a fingerprint scanner, a handheld iris scanner and a printer. Both the displays show the same information, the enrolling official sits in front of one and the candidate in front of the other. The webcam is fixed on top of the candidate’s display. First, the official entered the information from my form in English and Kannada into the Aadhaar data-entry software. She asked me to verify whether it was correct. Next, I was asked to remove my glasses and a photo was taken. Since the interior of the post office is dark, they had pointed a table lamp at the candidate’s face to illuminate it. After this, scans of all my 10 fingers were taken. My fingers were quite dry and it took a few tries and pressure for the scan to register. Finally, she placed the iris scanner on my eyes to capture a scan. After another final verification of the data, she printed out a confirmation form and I was done. The entire enrollment process took less than 5 minutes! 🙂
Despite all the brouhaha against Aadhaar, I am convinced that every Indian citizen needs an identity. Time will tell whether Aadhaar is helpful or just another white elephant. I look forward to receiving my Aadhaar card, which I was informed will be available within 2 months of the enrollment.