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UIDAI Plans Aadhaar Seva Kendras; Project Costs At Rs 300-400 Crore

UIDAI officials told media sources that the Aadhaar seva Kendras are aimed at offering convenience to individuals, looking to avail enrollment and update services

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The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) plans to set up 'Aadhaar Seva Kendras', similar to the concept of Passport Seva Kendras, covering 53 cities across India at an estimated project cost of Rs 300-400 crore, official sources said.

These proposed Aadhaar centres, meant to facilitate enrollment, updation and other activities, will be UIDAI's own and operate in addition to 30,000 centres, currently being run by banks and post offices, and in government premises (offering similar Aadhaar services), they added.

UIDAI officials who did not wish to be named told media sources that the centres are aimed at offering convenience to individuals, looking to avail enrollment and update services.

The Aadhaar Seva Kendras will provide people the facility to book prior appointment for these services, the officials familiar with the development said, adding that each metro will have four of these centres, and other cities two centres each.

In all, Aadhaar seva kendra will come up in 53 cities across India and will be operational by April 2019. It is estimated that as many as 4 lakh people update their Aadhaar details (Address, photo, mobile number amongst others) every day, while enrollments stand at about one lakh.

The latest move comes just weeks after the recent Supreme Court judgement restricted the use of Aadhaar. The apex court has upheld the constitutional validity of 'Aadhaar' but limited the scope of the controversial biometric identity project, ruling it is not mandatory for bank accounts, mobile connections or school admissions.

Holding there was nothing in the Aadhaar Act that violates right to privacy of an individual, the five-judge constitution bench in a 4 to 1 verdict has cleared the use of Aadhaar (world's largest biometric ID programme) for welfare schemes.

The court held that Aadhaar will remain mandatory for filing of Income Tax (IT) returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN) but struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 that permitted private entities like telecom companies or other corporate to avail of the biometric Aadhaar data.

However, the UIDAI has already clarified that service providers can use offline verification tools like eAadhaar and QR (Quick Response) code that leverage Aadhaar without authentication, any access to biometrics, or revealing the 12-digit number.

UIDAI believes that this would mean that individuals will continue to need services such as enrollment and updation, if they want to use Aadhaar based offline modes.

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