Maharashtra suspends four firms from Aadhaar enrolment

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The Maharashtra government has suspended four companies for poor performance and flouting guidelines while enrolling residents for the unique identity or Aadhaar programme, says a Livemint report.

The state government has informed both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the home ministry’s National Population Register (NPR) about the suspension. The companies won’t be involved in the enrolment process until the suspension is revoked. A copy of the letters, which are identical, has been reviewed by Mint.

The suspension could delay one of the government’s key initiatives aimed at the better targeting of social welfare measures. The home ministry had earlier raised objections to the procedures through which UIDAI collects biometrics and data of residents before the dispute was resolved in January.

Two companies set up centres at the premises of political parties, said Santosh Bhogle, under secretary in the Maharashtra government’s information technology department. “It is a clear violation of state guidelines,” he said. “The other two companies were suspended due to non-performance.”

The companies empanelled with UIDAI—Smart Chip Ltd, MphasiS Ltd, Vakrangee Softwares Ltd and Strategic Outsourcing Services Pvt. Ltd—were suspended in January, soon after which the authority was informed. The letter to NPR was sent last month.

A total of 13 agencies were engaged to enrol residents in the state. The 12 digit Aadhaar number was conceived as a unique identity nationally acceptable by banks, telecom providers, oil companies and other government agencies. NPR’s key mandate is security.

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