Interviews with Congress and BJP Politicians at Aadhaar Enrolment Centre, Raj Nagar, Delhi
Duration: 00:16:16; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 93.522; Saturation: 0.036; Lightness: 0.315; Volume: 0.375; Cuts per Minute: 4.795; Words per Minute: 178.088
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
Rajnagar, Palam Gaon, elhi: Balwant Khokhar of the Congress and Nandkishore Gautam of the BJP, along with an assorted group of political activists and Resident Welfare Association representatives, complain about the company (Strategic Outsourcing Services) that is enrolling for the Aadhar number. The complaints are about the lack of machines to handle such crowds, the lack of facilities, including no generator, no toilets, no water even. The scheme is very good, but the implementation needs a lot to be desired.
Interviewer: What are you finding here?
Speaker: We feel that the system that has been started by the Indian government for the creation of the Aadhaar card is extremely good. But the private companies that have taken up the responsibility of helping out with this do not have the knowhow, the staff or the logistics. Every day there are a large number of people who crowd in the center, and there are fights with the people from morning to evening.
I think that, if the population of a particular village is fifty thousand people, then based on how many people they have (to enrol), they must ensure that there are an adequate number of centers created so that people can be equally distributed across these centers and to make sure that people do not crowd at one particular center.
Interviewer: So what should happen, do you think?
Speaker: Having taken money from the government, they should have a proper system. For each locality they have been opening up a single center and those who are in charge and hired by the government must take responsibility for each center. There seems to be no responsibility at this center, someone is pushing the staff around, someone is pushing people standing outside around, there is no responsibility.
When the Indian Government is giving them twenty Five rupees daily wages per employee, these company people should first account for the population in a particular area and then open the appropriate number of centers.
With a population of fifty thousand people you have open six centers and are making three hundred cards by the end of an evening, people who are waiting all day come and abuse the staff and go. We get abused and our superiors are also abused. There has to be a system in place. There is no checking being done by the government authorities. We get a call from the Vidhan Sabha, the one machine is moved from here to there, and then the MLA comes and moves the machines from there to here. There is no checking and accountability, that is what I would like to point out.
The MLAs and MPs have been given a certain power, they are meant to verify and vouch of people on some level that, yes, there are from this area and are born on this date. But nothing of the sort happens. People just come in with any photocopied document. Col. Sharma who is in charge of this center, I have told him that every single day there are fights and arguments over here. Take for example yesterday one girl's hand got jammed in between the door.
The initiative of the Aadhaar card is very good and it should happen, we are completely for it, but our view is that in whichever area the centers are being opened, they should be opened only after accounting for the area’s population. We are spending on the electricity, the companies and government may be paying our people, but every day we have so many people leaving their jobs to be here and help people fill the form and control the crowd as well.
My request to this company is that the police, the DC, the government should all be spoken to and they should be told that a more concrete system needs to be put into place. This is my opinion, sir.
Speaker: This matter has to communicate to the government, else no matter where you open a center the problems of overcrowding, fights emerging will still continue.
Speaker 2: The public is not being handles properly.
Speaker 1: This man is from the BJP, I am from the Congress, all workers are here, all represenatives of the RWA are here, all are trying to cooperate. These companies are getting all this money from the government: if they are not happy they should contact the government and should ensure that there is a good system in place at least.
Speaker 1: This is my view.
Speaker 2: The police needs to come and give us support. Recently 4 fingers of a person have been cut off, now please tell me, who is going to be responsible for something like that. They should give us police protection, which is not being given. We are leaving all our housework and regular jobs just so that we can help this get done for the gaon people. Listen to my voice, it;s gone, in this effort. We people like Manoj Bhai, from sunrise till sunset we are all only over here working.
Speaker 1: Whichever company has taken the tender to do this whole thing, the main aim of those companies is merely to make money. They are not concerned with the problems of the public.
Speaker 2: The staff needs to be increased. We do not have enough man power.
Speaker 1: We are the ones filling out the forms for the Adhaar card. No one form the company is there to help people fill out the forms.
Without filling the form people come, push people around, some people get hurt and they just leave.
Speaker 2: The job of the staff is to make sure the form is being filled. But instead, we, people from outside upon request of people, not even that people come and complain to us and not the staff who is in charge.
Speaker 1: This is the form and this is the one that your people need to fill. This is what the company has been given from the government, and if all the details are given to the public before they come, it will take even your people only half the time to get this job done. Everything will be written here and very quickly they will be able to enter it into the computer, then there will be no problem. But people aren't getting the form itself.
Speaker 2: No, at Dharamshala your people have opened a center, your staff over there old me that you need to only fill up the name and the serial number. Whereas this form here says that everything needs to be filled up. It takes me 7 minutes to fill up one form, their name, their date of birth, their address, whether they are men or women. Here we are filling all these details now you tell me if I fill in one detail and tomorrow instead of a man a woman comes tell me what will we do?
Either we should be given the protection of the police, of the assistance of some staff member, then we can do all this work without any problem at all. This is Mr. Manoj, look at him; look at his condition at having been here all day from the morning. Look at my condition. Look at all my brothers who have been sitting here. Look at their condition. They are taking care of the whole system. There is this lady and all these men over here helping out. Create some kind of system please.
The rate at which the fights keep happening someone will eventually die. One person’s finger got cut off and there was a hue and cry about it. They hit a person from the staff and said that they will take action against him. We will call the police. This man has been coming here for the last 6 months. HIs name is Gautham Ji, he comes over here.
[Unclear: Speaker 2 is addressing something to Speaker 1 about these two men coming here regularly]
Speaker 2: The remaining whoever has a ration card, they do not need another documents.
[Lot of ambient noise]
Speaker 1: The school ID card of the children... [Unclear]
One person needs to come here for three days till everything is done correctly to have the form filled.
Speaker 3: First they said go to that line, and then we were told to go to the other line. Basically the system is so bad, something that has been set up with such good intent by the government, the central government wants everyone to have this Aadhaar card, to ensure that each person has an identity, to ensure that they do not have any shortcomings in society, all they need to do is take this one Unique Identity card and with that all the data about that person will be available.
One person can have only one card in the entire country. This is a wonderful thing, however the process that needs to be followed in order to create this, that isn't right. It is because of this shortcoming that there are a lot of problems. There are no restrooms at the centers that people who are standing in the lines for hours together can use. There is facility of chairs for the people. When it rains all the people standing in the line have to stand in the rain and they get wet waiting for their turn. The situation has become so bad. There were women standing outside and it was really heavy rain and they women were just standing out there getting wet.
It was so upsetting to watch women and children standing there getting wet in the rain and not being able to do anything about it. Whichever company is in charge of this should have taken care of such details and ensure that no person is inconvenienced like this. The company should have taken this under consideration. How will women who are standing in the line from one to three in the morning, if they need to use the restroom, they have no facilities nearby and hence are scared to leave the line for the fear that their place in the line will be lost. So tell me why these companies that are doing this work haven’t addressed such basic needs.
Think about it how can you not think about the people in the society while doing this.
Interviewer: That's right
Speaker 3: A lady who is so tired standing if she wants to sit down there are no facilities provided for her to do so, how long can they keep standing in the sun. It is very hot and there has been no arrangement that has been made for this. That is why there is problem at every center. At this center, Rajnagar has a population of 125,000 and for 150,000 of the population there was just one machine that was allocated as Mr. Khokhar mentioned earlier.
If instead of one machine there were 6 such machines put up in Rajnagar, then this huge population would then be spread across this and it would be so much more convenient. But looking at how the current situation is with the way women and children are being handled it is very upsetting for us.
If not the company the elected representatives of our area should have taken care of this. There is the MP, the MLA, the Chancellor the three of them should have come together and helped. They could have provided some kind of shade in the recent heavy rain but nothing was done. They need to take care of their own people. This is not our responsibility. We are looking into it but as our elected representatives they need to make sure that the people are not being inconvenienced like this. I am not talking about any party in particular I am just talking about the people from this area.
I'm talking about the society. Why don't you take a look, there isn't a generator facility, there isn't enough light. You are standing here and there isn’t enough light. How will the people making the entire work.
Speaker 2: This is Mr. Anuj, he is a staff member why don't you ask him what his condition is sitting here all day. You yourself can feel it.
Speaker 3: There is no facility to even get drinking water over here, now you tell me, if there are children standing outside where will they go and drink water from? The problems that I am mentioning these are all general problems and you yourself will experience all of these things.
Interviewer: Yeah I am seeing this.
Speaker 3: There is no water facility, no place to go to the restroom, there is not enough places to stand, how will the public feel? If the society is not able to get any basic amenities what will they do then? But there is this intention with the people that we also make their cards as soon as we can.
I would like to tell either through the media or you who are our intermediary, i would like you to put across this point that the lacking of these amenities is a big loss for the society.
Interviewer: So you are from the BJP
Speaker 3: Basically I am the local representative of the BJP but when I come here, my name is Nanda Kishore Gautham. But when I come here no matter what my political affiliation I am primarily one amongst the local people. There are not parties here as this is not the plan of any party in particular, this is for the society. For the young the old the rich and the poor this is for everyone.
Whether it is with regard to water, to cleanliness, to ID card, ration card, ID proof anything, you can ask anyone, I want to do this work separate of the political party, I want to see how can good to done for the society. If any person over here says that I have taken my party name or a congress person has said that I have come saying my party's name, I have come only as an ordinary citizen to come and help my brothers with this initiative. The other day I was telling someone if necessary I will stand outside with an umbrella, there was this lady standing outside in the rain.
This is not about any political party in particular, we first belong to the community and then to the party.
Speaker 1: I have told them on camera that in our area there is a rough population of around 50,000 people. And with 6 machines you have three to 6 people at one machine and only 300 cards can be made by the end of the day. So in whichever area that you open a center it is important that you assess the population and depending on which if you open more number of center then the crowd will get distributed across these centers.
Then there is the issue of the form filling. Since the day before we use to have one person sitting with you outside, who would first give you the serial number, then people would get restless with the long lines. All they did all day was fill the form: no one got their card made. We told them that the company people have not been doing the job correctly.
I told them that the central government will be giving you money for doing this and here we are doing all of this as a service to the community. No matter how little you may be giving this was one of the biggest tenders of the company. All said and done we are doing this as a free service to the community.
Speaker 4: Sir, can you please give me some water at least?
Speaker 1: [Laughs]
Interviewer: Sir, you are doing this enrollment in the whole of Delhi is it?
Speaker 1: Until know it is just two districts. South-West and North Delhi.
Speaker 4: South West and North Delhi these are the two that we are responsible for.
Speaker 2: two districts.
,Speaker 1: Half of Delhi comes under two districts. Which is under Sir.
Interviewer: How many districts are there in all of Delhi?
Speaker 4: nine districts are there.
Interviewer: And the enrollment for the Adhaar card is happening only two districts.
Speaker 1: Different companies have started it in different districts. His company has started the ones in South-West and North Delhi.
Interviewer: Can you tell us a little about your company, I mean about the kind of work that you do? The areas, sector?
Speaker 4: Well from the company’s side all that I can say is that whatever it is that is going on, it is all going on well. So far we are trying to do are best without any complications arising. We talk to the local leaders and senior citizens and we try to make sure that this happens form place to place easily.
Interviewer: Ok, so before taking up the Aadhaar project you company use to work in which part of the software industry?
Speaker 4: I'm sorry I didn't understand:
Interviewer: No, we want to know before this what was your company doing?
Speaker 4: I am not very sure what exactly they were doing before this, they are from Bangalore and are a strategy company, before all this we are firstly form Delhi so if anything Delhi related we can answer.
Interviewer: Ok, so you join at this time only is it?
Speaker 4: Yes I joined only at this time.
Interviewer: So where is the center in North Delhi?
Speaker 1: [Reply unclear]
The work has been given by the central government to this company. SO we who are from RWAs and from local parties have come here to try and help as best as we can.
Speaker 4: There are so many people here and without their help none of this would've been possible.