|Early Times Report|
NEW DELHI: Aadhaar enrolments in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) have dropped drastically since August 5, after restrictions came into place following the abrogation of Article 370. Just over 2,800 enrolments were reported this month so far, falling from nearly 50,000 in July and about 18,700 in August.
J&K has among the lowest Aadhaar coverage among states and union territories, with around 75% of the people enrolling so far for the unique identity number as on August 31 and almost 24 lakh people still being without it. Nationally, about 90% of the population has Aadhaar numbers.
The Srinagar district has just 66% Aadhaar saturation, which is the lowest among J&K's districts. Data from the Unique Identification Authority of India show that while 49,270 people enrolled for Aadhaar in July, only 18,688 enrolled in August and just 2,834 in September so far. The highest monthly Aadhaar enrolments in J&K over the last one year were reported last December at 69,948.
Two government officials told ET on the condition of anonymity that the drop in enrolments was "obvious" as restrictions on movement were in place in J&K, especially in Srinagar where the gap in enrolments was the highest.
"The Aadhaar enrolment process is not dependent on the Internet and hence some enrolments took place as and when people reached enrolment centres and registrars like banks. The speed would soon resume as the situation normalises," one official said. The other official pointed out that coverage was already high in districts like Jammu (96%), Rajouri (95%), Poonch (97%), Doda (97%), Udhampur (93%) and Pulwama (90%).
"The main gap is in Srinagar and Leh - where the saturation stands at 66% and 67%, respectively. These areas will be the focus when normalcy returns as ensuring complete Aadhaar saturation in J&K is a priority, since most schemes in J&K will now be getting linked to direct benefit transfer (DBT)," the second official said.
ET had reported on September 5 that the Centre was looking to expand the DBT framework in J&K, with wider coverage of beneficiaries and increasing the number of central schemes to ensure subsidies reached people without leakage. Payments against central procurement of apples from J&K are also being done through the DBT platform.