Guwahati: The Assam government is pursuing with the Centre the issue of non-issuance of Aadhaar cards to many eligible people whose biometric details were locked during the process of updating National Register of Citizens (NRC) as the document is necessary for availing benefits of welfare schemes, the assembly was informed on Tuesday.

Biometrics of over 27 lakh applicants were collected during the claims and objections phase of the NRC, which is yet to be notified by the Registrar General of India (RGI).

Out of these, 19 lakh names were not included in the final draft of the NRC published on August 31, 2019 and these people are now facing problems in getting Aadhaar cards as their biometric data have been locked as per a directive of the Supreme Court, which is overseeing the NRC updating process.

Sharing the concerns of the opposition parties, General Administration Department Minister Ranjeet Kumar Dass informed the House that the state government is aware that many eligible people are facing problems in availing benefits of welfare schemes due to the absence of Aadhaar cards which are mandatory to be linked to their bank accounts for receiving the benefits.

Dass said the state government has written at least twice to the Centre in the last two years, requesting the government to allow the Aadhaar card issuing authority to access the biometric details of at least those people whose names had figured in the final draft NRC.

The chief minister had himself brought up this issue in the state Cabinet and a sub-committee has been formed to discuss the way forward with different organisations, he said.

The panel, comprising Ajanta Neog, Atul Bora and Pijush Hazarika, is scheduled to initiate consultations with different groups, including All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), later this month, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hazarika, who is also a member of the group, said.

The matter was raised by AIUDF legislator Aminul Islam, who maintained that though the state government has been claiming of being seized of the issue but no fruitful step has been taken to resolve the problem.

People are being deprived of their rightful benefits. Earlier also the government said steps are being taken but we have not seen any result, Islam said.

Congress MLA Jakir Hussain Sikdar demanded a definite timeframe for resolving the problem, while ruling BJP legislator Biswajit Phukan also urged the government to ensure that at least those people whose names were included in the final draft NRC are not deprived of the benefits.

Dass, in his reply, also said that 85.55 per cent of people in the state have registered for Aadhaar enrolment as per data on February 28, 2022.

The process for applying and generation of Aadhaar cards in the state had started full scale only after updating of the NRC had come to an end.

In response to another question, Dass, who also holds the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs department, said in the House that eligible people were not being deprived of benefits under National Food Security Act due to non-issuance of Aadhaar cards.

Facilities like Electronic Point of Sale, Nominee Policy and Exception Handling Policy were being pursued to ensure that benefits reach all eligible population under NFSA, he added.

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