Systemic failure in Srinagar

Systemic failure in Srinagar

It defies logic that while most of the far-flung and less equipped districts have completed biometric data collection, why the same should not have happened in Srinagar

It is extremely curious that a majority of the permanent residents of Srinagar district– numbering 12.37 lakhs – are without both vital Aadhaar, and voter identity cards. Is this a case of utter systemic failure in the government administration or there is more to it? It is interesting that almost all other districts – including those with relatively poor infrastructure – have issued these two vital identity cards to most of their permanent residents. The Aadhaar card project – designed to put India at par with the countries with smart card system for its citizens – was launched in the state in August 2010 by the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah with the four districts of Jammu, Srinagar, Baramulla and Ganderbal piloting the initiative. While all other districts have completed the exercise, it is unimaginable why it is only Srinagar that has been left behind. The district administrative structures responsible for issuing voter ID cards have miserably failed in issuing voter ID cards to most of the residents before the Parliamentary as well as the Assembly elections. The ID cards that were issued were marred by discrepancies in names, addresses – rendering those unfit for use. In the absence of voter ID cards, ans now the Aadhar cards – a key requirement in accessing a number of public and other services – people in Srinagar are facing daunting odds. Curiously no political party or any other entity with interest in civic issues have shown interest to hold the systems and the private firm hired to make these cards in Srinagar accountable. In case of Aadhar cards – now being made mandatory for issuing passports and transferring direct cash subsidies to beneficiaries – Srinagar’s residents are likely to face difficulties in accessing some key services and benefits. It defies logic that while most of the far-flung and less equipped districts have completed biometric data collection, why the same should not have happened in the state’s summer capital, better equipped to do the job. This is a serious issue and needs consideration at the highest levels of the government. Srinagar cannot afford this systemic apathy.