The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has operationalised 21 Aadhar Seva Kendras (ASK) as part of its plan to open 114 standalone Aadhar enrolment and update centres across the country, said Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) on November 21. These are in addition to 35,000 Aadhar enrolment centres that are run by banks, post offices, and state governments, the UIDAI had said in its statement.

The ASKS are now operational in Delhi, Agra, Hisar, Bhopal, Chennai, Lucknow, Patna, Dehradun, Guwahati, Ranchi, Jaipur, Silvasa, Vijaywada, Hyderabad, Mysore, Shimla, Bengaluru and Jaipur, and Chandigarh. UIDAI further plans to set up 114 Aadhar Seva Kendras in 53 cities across the country, it said.

MEITY said that ASKs have the capacity to handle up to 1,000 enrolment and update requests per day and they will be operational on all days of the week, including weekends, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. The ASKs will charge Rs 50 for updating details like adding a mobile number to Aadhar, updating addresses, etc, MEITY said.

When and why Aadhaar Seva Kendras were set up

UIDAI had set up its first ASK centres in July 2019, in Delhi and Vijayawada, that were operating on a pilot basis. It had planned to set up the remaining centres by end of this year at a cost of Rs 300-400 crores, PTI had reported. It is worth noting that ASKs also have an online appointment management system, the PTI report said.

Aadhar Seva Kendras was announced by the then UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey in October 2018, and provide enrolment and update facilities. The Supreme Court in September 2018 had scrapped Section 57 of the Aadhar Act 2016, because of which the UIDAI had decided to shift Aadhar enrolment and update centres from private premises to banks, post offices and state government premises that are under the direct supervision of the government. Sections 57 of the Aadhar Act was the provision that allowed for use of Aadhar authentication and eKYC by private companies.