Enrolments at Chhotiyal: Interview with Man from Sultanpuri
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The Identity project emerged as a result of our dissatisfaction at the nature of the debate that was emerging on the area of digital governance in India.
Over the past three years we have conducted numerous field visits in seven Indian states.These visits include numerous video-conversations, some short and others very long, with a diverse number of those who were involved with this entire process of participating in the emergence of a digital ecosystem of governance. These are interviews with people being enrolled into the Aadhaar programme, with district-level Panchayat and other officials, with numerous State government bureaucrats, with private enrollment representatives, representatives of various governmental services, with operators and other members of this digital workforce. Conversations are often long, spontaneous and deliberately unstructured: and the focus is mainly on a vérité style using amateur video.
Some key issues that we shortlisted for detailed inquiry were issues of migrants, both domestic and across international borders, homelessness in cities, and the financially excluded. Each of these areas was discussed in considerable detail at major public consultations held in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore, in partnership with the CSDS, the Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, and the Urban Research and Policy Programme Initiative of the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. All videos of all presentations made at these events are also available here.
CSCS also has an extensive text archives of material on the field as a whole, available on http://eprints.cscsarchives.org
This video runs through a busy enrolment centre at Chhotiyal, Palam Gaon, where several people’s biometrics are being read at multiple systems. A representative says that people want an identity and that is what the government is giving people through the Aadhaar card. She says that this will be the only identification and has far more advantages that other ID cards do not offer. A resident says that he is there to get his ‘smart card’, and he is getting it because they government has demanded this of him. Another man who has just enrolled say he has no idea why he has enrolled. Everyone has, so he too is enrolling. A major issue arises when one labourer claims to be from Palam Gaon, but undr duress produces an identity card showing him to be from Sultanpuri. A representative of the enrolment agency confidently tells the interviewers that the people being enrolled are 'areawise', since otherwise there will be too much of a crowd. The labourer gets by because he produces an introducer form.
Your date of birth?
Wife of Rakesh Kumar?
Address WZ 285 A Chhotiyal.
Do you have a mobile number?
Tell me your mobile number.
Check it once.
Isn't it in Hindi?
Mobile number 9560247073
So what do you think, why do people come here?
They want their cards
People come because they want the card, for their recognition, that the government has now made available. For that they need the proper documents. For this, they come to be recognized.
But from earlier people had voters card etc.
Yes, the government now has given one card that will complete all formalities at once.
Are there any extra services attached to this card?
Yes, the people will profit, for example if they want to open a bank account, but don;t have the card, this will give them an account.
What problems have you encountered here?
The main problem is that we have to handle the public. We have to explain to the public properly, and nicely, to stay in line, bring proper documents, they ask us what is the profit to them, and we have to explain properly.
The equipment is working properly?
Yes, all operators are trained.
You have no rpoblem getting hold of trained operators?
We would like to speak to some of the people here.
Since yesterday I have brought the people in because it is very sunny and hot outside. People are having problems standing outside.
The space outside is not so that people can stand outside. That is why i ahve taken the cooperation of the people and asked them in.
We are doing research on this UID project. Can we ask you a question or two?
Why are you here? And what is your expectation from this?
We have come to make a card. The smart card will also get made.
Why do you want these cards? What is the benefit to you?
It is the government order, and we have to make them.
But you have no benefit with these, unlike a voter card that allows you to vote.
This card - I don't know yet about it.
What problems have people had in getting it?
No trouble so far.
There is a huge crowd outside.It is becoming difficult to get inside.
We had taken the number.
Some days ago we had got the number.
How do you get the number?
They give 25 numbers. Mine was 24.
Every moring they give the number?
No trouble really, well a little, but not much.
How did you come to hear about the Aadhaar?
People told me.
We're researching Aadhaar. Can I ask you a couple of questions?
Why are you here?
To get my card made.
Why are you here?
To get a card.
What do I know why?
What do you think?
What do I know?
Everyone got one so I too have come.
Have you had any trouble getting here? Getting a number to get in?
The man from Sultanpuri
Given the crowds outside?
They tore up my children's forms.
Who did this? Why?
How do I know why?
This is only for people from this Gaon (Chhotiyal). Not for people from Puran Nagar
Are you from outside?
This is for people from Puran Nagar gaon, not for people to fill petrol
Puran Nagar it says.
Only for people from the Gaun. The Gaon.
But he is not from here.
Where are you from?
He's not from here: he's from Puran Nagar.
What form can he fill here?
What's written here?
This is all a mess created by these people who come from Sultanpuri
You've come from Sultanpuri?
Make him show his identity card
Where do you live? In whose house do you live?
Form Introduction by Dharam Dev Solanki
RZB, Dada Dev Road Palam Gaon, Rajnagar.
Where is this in Rajnagar?
Is this enrolment permitted only for people from this neighbourhood alone?
Its done areawise: so for Palam only people who are from Palam
People from elsewhere go to other places, otherwise there will be too much of a crowd
As it is the crowd is huge!
Yes, which is why it is areawise.
I have a question: this extent of demand, from people who don't know why they need it.
Well, I have no idea myself. People say in future this will have value.
But this does not give you any direct value: like a bank account - you have had no need for a bank account, you all already have one, right?
Yes, we do.
Does anyone make or get job cards for Employment Guarantee programmes?
So who will benefit?
It's a government plan, so we have to get it.
People shoulld know better: perhaps there should be posters. Government should do this.
So you are all from Palam Gaon?
Yes, we are.
When did you get your number?
In the morning.
Why does this have to be done in the morning?
Number has to be taken.
You have to stand in the line.