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villagers in Jharkhand struggle to correct Aadhaar data due to errors such as wrong age and faulty addresses

Names, dates of birth, or addresses on Aadhaar cards are wrong, and there’s no hassle-free way to fix them. In several villages in Jharkhand, where enrolment in such programs requires a 12-digit biometric ID, underprivileged people have been denied pensions, food, and banking services.

In West Singhbhum, 42-year-old beedi worker Jeetrai Samant received two notices last month asking him to appear in court or face arrest. In October, the Muffasil Police Station registered a case against Samant for cheating and criminal breach of trust.

Samant, 42, a beedi worker from Doipai village in West Singhbhum, received two notices saying he had to appear.

An official at Grameen Bank notified Samant in September that his Aadhaar was linked to someone else’s account and asked him to return the money he’d withdrawn two years ago.

“During the Covid lockdown in 2020, I checked my Aadhaar-linked account balance at a Common Service Center. When I put my thumb on the scanner, it showed Rs 1,12,000 in my account. My manager told me the amount had probably been credited as Covid relief by the government,” he said.

Samant, a Ho tribal member from Jharkhand, said he had to keep withdrawing money to feed his family, which includes his wife and six kids.

A letter has been written by Samant to the Superintendent of Police, Chaibasa, seeking action against the erring bank officials.

According to his letter, “Isme meri koi galti nahi hai.” Mere Aadhaar se mere jankari ke bina dusre kisi ka khata mein link kar diya gaya. Do saal tak bank dwara is sambandh mein koi jankari nahi diya gaya. I didn’t know my Aadhaar was linked to someone else’s bank account. The bank has not even informed me about this for the past two years.

The Grameen Bank officials were not responsive to calls and messages seeking to understand how Samant’s Aadhaar had been linked to another individual’s account.

In a statement, Pawan Pathak, the in-charge of Mufassil Police Station, said, “It appears that the bank has made a mistake. “We are investigating the matter.”

In the West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, the Indian Express met villagers who complained about their frustration regarding the update of their biometric and demographic data in the Aadhaar database. It is common for the redress mechanism to fall through the cracks, as it did in Samant’s case and many others – the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is responsible for generating the Aadhaar number, but it is the state government that is responsible for enrolling data.

Approximately 30 kilometres from Samant’s village, in the Simbiya panchayat of the district’s Sadar block, anganwadi worker Mani Devgam worries about a four-year-old orphan named Sriram Sidhu.

Because Sidhu does not have an Aadhaar card, Devgam believes he will not be able to enroll in a school.

Orphans have difficulty obtaining an Aadhaar card, and local school teachers will not enroll students without an Aadhaar.” The problem also extends to foodgrains, as they are not receiving their entitlements.

Due to the lack of Aadhaar, Kair Bairi, who gave shelter to two orphans ten years ago, has been unable to have their names added to the family’s ration card. Without Aadhaar, I am unable to have their names added to my ration card. For their Aadhaar card to be issued, I must be their legal guardian, according to the block officials. “I was not even able to enroll them in a government school.”

A total of 1,510 primary schools are located in West Singhbhum district, in which children are able to enroll in classes 1-5. An official from the district told The Indian Express that they would investigate the matter.

Aadhaar is not a requirement for enrollment, according to Kiran Pasi, director of the Jharkhand Education Project Council, which is part of the state education department. It will be ensured that this does not occur.”

Although several villagers in the district have visited the enrollment centers numerous times, they have not been able to correct or update their Aadhaar information.

In Chota Lagiya village of Khuntpani block, Chipti Kui’s Aadhaar card indicates that she was born in 1995. She has three children, all of whom are older than 45 years of age.

Since my Aadhaar card contains the incorrect date of birth, I do not qualify for old age pension. There is no voter identification card in my possession. She stated, “I do not know what to do.”. “I am trying to change my date of birth, but every time I visit the enrollment center, I am asked to provide an official ID or proof of birth.”.

The age mismatch on Vikram Bari’s Aadhaar and voter identification card prevents him from opening a bank account in Bamebasa village of Tonto block. He is listed as 101 years of age on his Aadhaar, but on his voter identification, he is listed as 49 years of age as of 2007.

According to Banmali Bari, who accompanied him to the Aadhaar center for age correction, Vikram was informed that he would have to obtain his father’s Aadhaar card or number. He lost his father many years ago. Is it possible to obtain an Aadhaar card now? ”

West Singhbhum Deputy Commissioner Ananya Mittal said: “We’ll set up Aadhaar data correction camps soon, as well as resolve pension issues.” Likewise, we will ensure that orphans are not denied food.

According to a UIDAI official who requested anonymity: “In terms of the bank account linked to someone else’s Aadhaar, it is clearly the bank’s mistake. UIDAI has no involvement in it. Considering that the state government, particularly the Department of Information Technology, has the infrastructure to address any problem with Aadhaar denials, one must understand that the nodal agency for enrollment is the state government. Nevertheless, if the government makes a specific request, we’ll take a look at it.”

The official explained that changing the date of birth in Aadhaar cards is not an easy process. The application is forwarded to Bengaluru after submission, where there is a possibility that it may be rejected due to the automated nature of the system,” he said. Upon receiving his birth certificate from the municipal corporation of his residence, the aggrieved person may then approach the UIDAI state office for a fresh verification process.”

In Jharkhand, most villagers lack birth certificates or other documentation to verify their identity.

Vipra Bhal, secretary, Department of Information Technology and e-Governance, was unreachable.

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