NEW DELHI,Bharti Jain(TNN): Aadhaar numbers assigned to adult residents in 13 of the country's 36 states and Union territories have exceeded their respective population as per 2011 census figures. Not only this, the overall Aadhaar coverage in Delhi and Telangana is already more than their population.
Unusual as it seems, experts claim that this anomaly between the census figures and Aadhaar numbers assigned in the states is not abnormal. Apart from attributing it to the increase in population since 2011 and migration of residents in between states, they also allege that certain "gaps" in census enumeration may have left scope for errors in the population data.
While Aadhaar coverage among the Delhi's 18-plus age group is the highest at 127.6% of their 2011 headcount, other states reflecting this trend are undivided Andhra Pradesh (113.7%), Himachal Pradesh (112.5%), Sikkim (109.2%), Punjab (109.1%), Kerala (108.6%), Lakshadweep (108%), Jharkhand (107.1%), Chandigarh (106.9%), Goa (106.8%), Puducherry (106.8%), Tripura (103.8%) and Haryana (103.5%).
Incidentally, in Delhi and Telangana, Aadhaar numbers allotted so far stand at 105.9% and 102.9% of their 2011 census population.
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which administers the Aadhaar scheme, has so far assigned 786 million Aadhaar numbers across the country. While 642 million numbers were generated in 24 states/UTs assigned to UIDAI, around 144 million Aadhaar numbers were assigned in the 12 states being handled by Registrar General of India (RGI).
UIDAI officials discount the possibility of any errors in Aadhaar enrolment, claiming that the data collected by them is foolproof as it contains biometrics that are unique to each resident. "On the other hand, one cannot vouch for census data as the enrolment process is highly decentralized... There is a possibility that many citizens who were not found at their addresses during the headcount may have been missed out by the enumerator," an expert pointed out.
The census authorities, on the other hand, insist that its enumeration exercise is time-tested and based on a elaborate house-to-house verification of the residents.
UIDAI states are ahead of RGI states in terms of Aadhaar enrolment, with the UIDAI having covered over 80% population across 14 states. The RGI, however, has been rather slow in terms of enrolment, with seven of the 12 states allotted to it showing an enrolment of under 50%. In fact, Aadhaar numbers have been assigned to just 0.7% and 0.8% of the residents in Meghalaya and Assam respectively.
The UIDAI, which was asked to take charge of enrolment in states like UP and Bihar in February last year, has assigned the 16-digit Aadhaar number to around 91 million people in UP (49% of the its 2011 census population) and 37 million in Bihar (35.3%).
Overall coverage of Aadhaar across the country is 65%, though for those aged 18 years and above, this goes up to 82%.
UIDAI hopes to complete enrolment in the states assigned to it, by June this year.