Interview with Shailendra Rao Nalige, General Manager, Comat Technologies, and Muthuram, Comat operator, Mysore
Duration: 00:47:13; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 15.825; Saturation: 0.156; Lightness: 0.323; Volume: 0.318; Cuts per Minute: 1.398; Words per Minute: 135.289
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
Long interview with Shailendra Rao Nalige, General Manager of Comat Technologies, the designated Enrolment Agency for Mysore (designated by Centre for eGovernance, Govt. of Karnataka the Aadhaar Registrar for Karnataka), in which he speaks about the operation management of a project of this kind, the manner in which they phased out the enrolments in Karnataka (7 taluks in Mysore, upto 28 lakh enrolments covered in Aug 2011, 90% of population), the pilot authentication projects in Mysore involving gas and oil agencies ( interesting in light of recent developments making Aadhaar mandatory for receiving g LPG cylinders, as of June 2012), the demographic profile of people getting enrolled in the Town Hall enrolment centre, the role of verifiers (something unique in enrolments in Karnataka), the proof of concept studies done for the UIDAI in Mysore and the learning curve there on, the involvement of civic bodies in carrying out enrolments, the flow of data from individual enrolments centres to the UIDAI CIDR in Bangalore and the back logs at the CIDR, biometric standards, questions of privacy and voluntariness, the KYR+ being mandatory to some extent only in Karnataka, the paucity of the ‘Introducer’ model in Mysore, collaboration with NGO’s in the state. Also includes an interview in Kannada with Muthuram, an operator for Comat.
What you have to understand is that Mysore was a pilot district. Everybody learnt by looking at what was being done in Mysore. We were also learning.
We were better off because we did the proof of concept for UID across India. Mysore and Tumkur again when UID started off with POC, we were the first ones to do it. I think 4G did something in Hyderabad.
We did a full blown POC for UID that was in early 2010 or late 2009. Because we did the POC we were able to manage the pilot project much better. Still we had so much of learning.
Basically it was a question of education. The district administration had to be educated. The residents had to be educated. We had to hire fresh operators and then nobody was clear what kind of documents could be accepted and could not be accepted.
There was too much of confusion about what is a valid document and what is an invalid document. Why POI and POA, so many questions were being asked.
In fact the first three months everybody spent a lot of time just answering these questions. Instead of doing enrollment we spent 90% of our time answering queries the verifiers themselves didn't know. It took a lot of education.
INTERVIEWER: The other thing is the e-governance. They have actually hired people to do some kind of monitoring. And that is actually some kind of collaboration with WIPRO?
Speaker: What they have done as far as I know is that WIPRO is supplying the manpower and in each district they have one project manager, who is is the nodal person from the Government of Karnataka. As far as any UID or Aadhaar related issues are concerned and he liaises between the district administration and enrollment agencies. So he acts as a point of contact between the GOK, district administration and the enrollment agency.
INTERVIEWER: So you have a very unusual additional POI. Has it been successful...
Speaker: Yes, in Mysore because most of the GOK team used to be here as it is a pilot project. It is too early to comment about the effectiveness.
But yes, it helps having a nodal person, because if you look at it from my view point, if some(one) is sitting in my district, if he has to escalate any issues to GOK then the only avenue available for him was through the district administration.
Right now having a project manager who is directly reporting to the GOK in Bangalore and any issue that he finds or we find. He can immediately escalate it to the GOK team.
And the GOK team in turn can coordinate with the UID and give immediate feedback on what needs to be done in terms of process corrections and any revisions. For all this having a project manager helps a great deal.
Especially if you look at it from an enrollment agencies' view point.
INTERVIEWER: We have also heard that there are some plans for having permanent training for operators. A permanent training institute.
Do you know about it? I just read a news article that said that a permanent centre will be established. So the operators which you have are they fixed to one location or do you...
Speaker: In the urban areas they are fixed to one location. Whereas people working in the taluks they have to move from one location to the another.
And even these guys to some extent have to move. If I cover one geographical area in urban section. Obviously I will have to move some, if not all to some other part of the city where I still have a lot of coverage to be done. But I would say that 90% of the urban teams will stay where ever they are.
INTERVIEWER: We have been to some other places around the country. We have seen that in every state the local civil bodies associate themselves with the Aadhaar enrollments. So Mysore you mentioned the Government of Karnataka.
Speaker: See the government of Karnataka is the district administration and the Mysore city corporation. They are actively involved. In fact the verifiers are provided by the them.
The district administration and the city corporation of Mysore provide the verifiers. The verifiers are not appointed by us. They have to be government appointed and they have to be government employees. That is mandatory.
Unless they are available in the enrollment centres we are not supposed to start enrollment. It is mandatory. They are the ones who control or at least ensure that things keep moving. Because if the verifier is not there, even if a thousand people are there I am not supposed to start enrollment.
INTERVIEWER: How many verifiers do you have?
Speaker: It depends, for a centre there is at least one verifier. For a centre like this where there is a big crowd there will be two or three verifiers. Their role is not much but he is very critical.
With the overall time taken for enrollment his activity will not come anywhere in between. It is prior to the starting of the enrollments.
INTERVIEWER: So FCS in now made it mandatory to have an Aadhaar to be able to get rations. Gas will also become mandatory.
Speaker: What the gas companies have done is that they have sent out a letter, with some information to be filled up and sent back to them. They have to give them all the families’ members Aadhaar numbers and all other gas connection details. And there is an reply-paid envelope you have to put all the data into it and post it back to them.
Now all the gas companies have received that, so now they will start processing and implementing whatever process they are supposed to start.
INTERVIEWER: Could you explain the workflow. The gathering of the data and uploading it to the CIDR.
Speaker: It again depends from registrar to registrar. As far of the government of Karnataka is concerned we collect the data once in three days. At the end of the day we are supposed to do what is called the data export process.
There is a utility provided by the government of Karnataka which does an export of all the Adhaar as well the KYR Plus packets. And that is exported into an external disk every day. And once in three days we collect all the data from all the enrollment stations like this, put it into a hard disk and submit it to the government of Karnataka.
INTERVIEWER: How do you do that? Do you do it online or do you mail it?
Speaker: We do it manually. Physically send the hard disk to the government of Karnataka. And the government of Karnataka in turn hands it to the CIDR.
INTERVIEWER: So they keep a copy and then give it to the CIDR.
Speaker: Yes. Right not what I understand from the GOK team is that they have also started an upload process from the GOK.
They have a pipe from the GOK in Bangalore to CIDR so whatever disk we provide them with now, that gets directly piped to the CIDR. Instead of physically going there. And going forward they are also looking at a possibility of us sending it directly to them.
INTERVIEWER: So there it is de-duplicated and they issue the number. Have you found any blockages in the pipeline? We are told that in a lot of places there are delays.
Speaker: Not here. Right now we are unable to judge that. There is so much clogging at the UIDAI's end. The data is getting piped in at the CIDR. Till the UIDAI is able to complete its back log we will not really able to tell what exactly is the turnaround time once the packets hit the CIDR.
INTERVIEWER: What is the rate of rejects at the CIDR level?
Speaker: We don't have an idea. A least as far as we are concerned we haven't got any information. I think it is in some point OOO a very ridiculously low level.
INTERVIEWER: Everything that you have passed on has been successful?
Speaker: I would say 99.99% successful.
INTERVIEWER: The payment that is made as per the number successful registrations.
INTERVIEWER: And the success is not determined at the state of enrollment but at a later stage.
Speaker: Because unless you have a valid biometric capture here...
INTERVIEWER: So the does the verification happens at this stage?
Speaker: See the Aadhaar client does verify certain parameters so once the biometric is being captured.
INTERVIEWER: But I understand that there are some 'force-accept' procedures:
Speaker: Let me first explain, part of the Aadhaar client while capturing the biometric or the photograph they test it against some preset parameters. They have calibrated these biometric devices to accept only at a certain level. Those particular parameters have not been met it shows a red here. Only when it is a green then they will go ahead and do the next enrollment.
Likewise what is happening is that for really young kids, less than 5 years, their biometrics are not fully formed so we have problems capturing them and older people. We are given four attempts to capture the biometric. After that we have to do a force capture. When we do a force capture, what we are told is that the software does it picks up the best of the four and puts into the enrollment packet.
Which means that when the enrollment is completed, what goes to the CIDR is the biometric which is the best of the four that has been taken. Which is determined by the force capture and the software that is built into the Adhaar.
INTERVIEWER: Your compulsory parameters are just the biometrics? It's not the other kind of data?
Speaker: What else is there? It is only the demographic data. Anyway the demographic data we have a resident verifying it as it is being entered. But were we don't have control and where we have to depend on the software is the biometric data. They have preset parameters, calibrated, checked against that and if it ok then we go ahead.
INTERVIEWER: One of the issues that we sometimes had is that, when they print out the receipt there is actually an "I agree, I don't agree" ( choice) at the bottom to have this data. Do you know if people have said "I don't agree"? Are people aware that there is that choice? I don't agree to have the data made available to financial institutions and other sources.
Speaker: I would say nobody looks at it.
INTERVIEWER: Because if you may know there is a growing issue in relation to the privacy structure that people are apprehensive about this. I wanted to know if people are aware of this requirement. Because they say I actually agree to share my bank data. Some people may not want it.
Speaker: I don't think that we have found any residents who have specifically said that I don't want to share my bank details.
INTERVIEWER: Out of the many lakhs of people it is difficult to track it down.
Speaker: It is very difficult to track it down.
INTERVIEWER: Specifically for Karnataka the KYR Plus is not optional as it is in other states.
Speaker: Here they have made a few documents mandatory. In fact all the data is mandatory. So what is happening is that what is universally applicable is the ration card and gas. The rest of them (the data) are not really being utilised by the populace as such.
INTERVIEWER: So ration card and gas card is mandatory for anyone?
Speaker: All the 8 are mandatory.
INTERVIEWER: Suppose we don't have a gas connection, then?
Speaker: Then it is fine. If you don't have it then there is no question. They have made all the 8 mandatory. What the government of Karnataka is saying is that if they don't provide it then that particular service will be stopped. Then they will have to go to that particular department again and provide their Adhaar number and get themselves the connection.
INTERVIEWER: Has there been some amount of resistance because of this? Because it obviously requires people to be...
Speaker: That would come when government really stops their services. That is what you are seeing here. If one member of the family doesn't have their Aadhaar then one member's ration is cut down.
If there are 10 units given to the family and if one person doesn't have Aadhaar then he gets only 6 or 7 units. So obviously three units of ration they lose, they don't want to lose. They are now flocking to the centres and getting themselves registered. That we are seeing in the case of PDS. When the rest of the departments start doing it we will seeing the ripple effects.
INTERVIEWER: There are some people who don't come under PDS they may be affected by something else?
Speaker: There might be many people who might not be availing the Bagyalakshmi Scheme. It is meant for the girl child in the family for people below a certain income level. If they don't take it I don't care. I might not want the Aadhaar card. That's very few. If we are reaching 92-93% of the overall population 2-3% will anyway be lost due to migration and other reasons.
INTERVIEWER: The number of people who come without POI and POA but with an introducer. Is that a large number?
Speaker: No, we haven't actually done any introducer-based enrollment at all. We do a trial. That is only for destitute and homeless people. We have done around 50-60 enrollments.
INTERVIEWER: So 50-60 homeless people without...
Speaker: We do a night time enrollment. There is one nodal officer, the verifier. He is the introducer.
INTERVIEWER: So you simply got the introducers...
Speaker: The corporation people have their data that these are the homeless people. We bring those people during the night time and enroll them.
INTERVIEWER: So short of the homeless you don't have actually have an introducer facility. You don't have an operational facility?
Speaker: We could do that. The GOK is doing that based on need. Unless there is a need they don't want to do it. In fact that is one the issues where the district administration and city corporation are proactively looking at these destitutes and homeless people. The very purpose of Adhaar is to get people who don't have any documents. So we give them an identity so that they can avail benefits.
They took the initiative and they brought the people: we got them enrolled and there was one introducer, that is the city corporation revenue officer.
INTERVIEWER: Have you partnered any NGO groups for example in any of these matters?
Speaker: In fact we have worked with SVYM (Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement). They work in H.D. Kote taluk where we went along with the NGO representatives and visited tribal settlements, and in those places we made mobile camps for enrollments. And these tribal’s are migratory. We finished that before the rainy season. Once the rainy season starts they migrate to Coorg and other places with coffee plantations, as labourers.
INTERVIEWER: Are they availing any government services?
Speaker: Yes, they are availing. We did the Tibetan camp in Bylekuppe in Kushal Nagar.
Speaker: In fact in most of the taluks where ever the NGOs have been active. We have always collaborated with them. We have taken their help to mobilize people. We have kept them informed in advance, and took their advice on where to bring the enrollment stations and we took it there, and we can got the enrollments done for the populace that they have some level of control.
SVYM was very successful. We worked with Dr.Balasubramanium and we did quite a lot of work. In fact they were kind enough to provide their own vehicles.
INTERVIEWER: Are there any current enrollments happening along with NGO's or is everything over?
Speaker: Yes, it’s finished.
INTERVIEWER: But in North Karnataka they will be happening at some point right?
This is the kind of letter that has been sent by the gas companies. You are supposed to fill up all the details- dealer name and customer name and the personal LPG number. The families' Aadhaar details, and then send this back to them and they in turn will send it to the GOK and then those two will get merged and then the corresponding biometrics will be pulled out and put on the post.
INTERVIEWER: The entire work flow is something we need to understand.
Speaker: That is something that is being controlled by the government of Karnataka and gas companies. So in terms of working with the NGO's SVYM was one. They have done a huge amount of work in providing healthcare to tribals. Dr.Balasubramaniam from H.D.Kote Taluk.
INTERVIEWER: These are tribals?
Speaker: Yes. They are providing a lot of healthcare related facilities to them. In fact they are enabling them by providing all support to do whatever their basic skills are. They are trying to enhance their skills. Their enrollment is over. We have done more than 95% enrollment in that taluk. They were very good.
INTERVIEWER: What about the rest of Karnataka?
Speaker: In fact in Belgaum we have started it in 7 districts. There is another agency that has started it in Gulbarga which is another 7 districts. And we are told by GOK that Mysore division we will be doing. In Mysore there are 7 districts. They are likely to issue a confirmation in the next one of two days. In the coming month, in September we will start in 7 districts of Mysore.
Through Glodyne we will almost be doing 14 districts of the state. Which is almost 50%.
INTERVIEWER: One of the more famous aspects of Comant historically has been the Common Service Centres. Is there any synergy between that works in terms of setting up the CSCs, and is there any way which the CSCs would become Aadhaar enrollment centres?
Speaker: It’s still not been taken up in the way it is supposed to be. We did Nemmadhi which is at the Hobli level we setup around 800 centres across the state. Right now Comant is not doing that. That is being handled by some other company. As far UID is concerned in terms of service delivery Nemmadhi could become a very good point for service delivery using UID as a base. It can ride on UID and ensure that identity based delivery of service.
INTERVIEWER: As of now Nemmadhi is not in your..
Speaker: No right now it is not in our fold anymore.
INTERVIEWER: We have heard that now Common Service Centres have now transformed into Rural Business Centres. Is that true?
Speaker: In fact we called our Nemmadhi centres as Rural Business Centres.
INTERVIEWER: Just going back to the earlier discussion. We have been tracking Aadhaar enrollments in other states as well. We have been talking to the enroller agencies there. Each enrollment agency has developed a metrics by which they capture successful enrollments, quality etc. which they kind of keep for themselves and also then it forms a reporting structure with the registrar. So what is here?
Speaker: What is the other enrollment have done can you just elaborate on that?
INTERVIEWER: We have been to the North there was I-Grande and there was Wipro...
Speaker: What all have they captured...
INTERVIEWER: They have looked at, on a daily basis successfull enrollments, quality percentage of the biometrics captured and they kind of seen where the errors are usually (coming). What kind of errors that are being generated. Is that a practice that is common across..
Speaker: I think that is superfluous, because anything that we try to.. Basically you don't have any control over the biometric capturing process. It is completely dependent on how well the resident’s biometrics turn out to be. There is nothing that an enrollment agency can control.
Because the actual fingerprint capture and iris capture is automatically done by the devices. Operator per say does not have any control over how the biometric is captured. So I don't really know what they are talking about the quality of the biometric.
INTERVIEWER: Is there... for instance process time to complete each enrollment.
Speaker: That we are tracking.
INTERVIEWER: Is that being reported to the registrar and the UIDAI?
Speaker: Obviously it becomes a part of the weekly review. In fact they go to the centrewise productivity and quality review. While the UID is processing, if they find any quality issues with a particular operator or with a particular enrollment station, they provide feedback to us.
And then we in turn ask for some data from the UID to help us track and help us fix the issues. But till now we haven't had any such major issues reported by UID till now. In fact our company has the lowest error rate among all the enrollment agencies. And that UID conducts a bi-monthly or a once every quarter, they do a review meeting in Delhi with all the enrollment agencies and the registrars.
In the last meeting that was held, Comat was held as the agency with the lowest error rate. We had the highest number of enrollments but the least error rate.
INTERVIEWER: As you know they are starting authentication pilots. Has that started here in Karnataka?
Speaker: No it is likely to start very soon. They are going to start in both Mysore and Tumkur. We are also very keen to know how it works.
(In Kannada)....I joined a year ago. It is running quite well. We are enrolling by taking ID proof and address proof. And for the government we are collecting KYR Plus documents. We are scanning that as well. If they haven’t got their KYR Plus document we are rejecting those applications.
INTERVIEWER: Are you sending them back or is the verifier?
Speaker: Actually we are sending them but if they come by mistake we tell them that KYR Plus documents are compulsory otherwise their gas connections and rations cards will not be given to you. We are giving them the information and guidance to them.
INTERVIEWER: How many people are you sending back?
Speaker: Whoever doesn’t come with these documents get sent back.
INTERVIEWER: You send everyone back?
Speaker: We ask them to come back to come with their documents.
INTERVIEWER: How many people come without the documents? Do they know what they have to bring?
Speaker: Daily I enroll around 70 people. So there are usually around 10-15 of them. We inform them and send them away. There have been many cases where they have come back with the documents and we have enrolled them.
INTERVIEWER: Do they have to get the documents and queue up again?
Speaker: They would have informed the supervisor that they will be back with the documents. We enroll them as soon as they come back with their documents.
INTERVIEWER: How many days were you trained before you started to do this work?
Speaker: Before I started working I was trained for 5 days. So they gave us all the information during the training.
INTERVIEWER: Did you get enough information or did you learn on the job?
Speaker: They give is adequate information. Whatever questions we had we asked the trainer during our training period.
INTERVIEWER: What are your qualifications?
Speaker: B.A. Pass.
INTERVIEWER: Your computer qualifications. ITI?
Speaker: I have done basic computer training. I have done courses in both computer hardware and DTP. They only take people with computer knowledge and you also need to know how to type. They take people who have both these skills.
INTERVIEWER: Do you have to do only English typing or do you do Kannada typing as well.
Speaker: We have to do both. The typing is mostly in English and then sometimes we have to translate it to Kannada. We don't have the same words so we make changes.
INTERVIEWER: Do you use Kannada software or...
Speaker: We use a new software called Google Kannada. It will automatically translate to English.
INTERVIEWER: Don't you think it is a bit inaccurate?
Speaker: There are no problems and it is easy to use. If you compare it to other software like Nudi. This is the easiest.
It is basically a translator. What you write in English you don't get an exact translation. Then you will have to change that part of the word that does not match.
INTERVIEWER: Depending on the knowledge of the person who is hearing it. Because we get all our documents in Kannada in Bangalore and we see how many mistakes there are. Your name is spelt in five different ways every time someone is writing. How do you avoid that kind of problems?
Speaker: In Aadhaar the process the screen is provided to the resident. So we ask the resident is this correct? Is your name spelt correctly? For instance you take my name- Shailendra Rao Naligae. So it is Naligae or Nalige. The operator may type is as Nalige. When he shows it to me then I will tell him it’s not Nalige its Naligae.
INTERVIEWER: What about the large percentage of people who are not literate?
Speaker: What we do in such cases is that we try and stick to what is on the document. Because that is what they are currently using for getting a lot of other services. We see no point in changing that. We do ask them if this is how want it and it could be different and we say put it the way it is there.
In fact we don't have the right the change the name per se.
Speaker 2: The translator is 70% accurate. So it may vary about 30%.
INTERVIEWER: How do you know that 70% is correct?
Speaker: We use it daily and have experience using it. I have had the experience of using it for a year. About 75% percent of the words are right. Some changes have to be made. It is almost accurate.
Speaker: If you write Bangalore it won't say Bengaluru. It will say Bangalore. That he has to change.
Before we print the document we ask them whether everything is right. Suppose they are illiterate then we read it out to them. Only after they have confirmed to us that everything is correct only then do we print it.
They read out aloud what is there on the screen for the benefit of the resident. At least when they hear they will know. If I am an illiterate and if someone spells my name wrong I will correct them. That’s why we read it aloud. While we are reading it aloud if the resident wants any change then we change it.
INTERVIEWER: What about the case when you have many people from different states and different languages? How do you handle that?
Speaker: In that case the operator will take little more time to get the name and spelling right. For instance what we are doing in North Karnataka now. You know the names in North Karnataka. They are pretty long and they spell their names differently. So we ask the residents.
INTERVIEWER: So when you had these people from different states. You are still using only Kannada and English?
INTERVIEWER: There will be someone in Andamans with a Kannada document. That's very interesting.
INTERVIEWER: Which they can never read.
Speaker: Yes. We told them that this is one disadvantage you might have if you are willing to live with we will give it.
INTERVIEWER: So they get it in two languages?
Speaker: English and Kannada. English is the primary mode of entry. Even if I do it in Tamil Nadu I have to enter the data first in English. Then the Google Translation that Aadhaar is using converts it into that particular language. Then the local guys with knowledge of the local language will change it based on the requirement of the resident.
INTERVIEWER: Are many of the 96% of the people who enrolled here actually receiving the Aadhaar card?
Speaker: Right now we have enrolled close to 28 lakh residents. Almost 16 lakhs have received their cards.
INTERVIEWER: How long does the process takes?
Speaker: Right now that's the problem. In an ideal scenario they should get it in 20-30 days from the day of enrollment. Right now everything has piled up at UIDAI's end at CIDR. Now they have upgraded their infrastructure. Now the quantum of issual of UID has increased. In fact we were stuck at 8 lakhs for three months. Now in the last three months it has increased by another 8 lakhs.
INTERVIEWER: In Delhi we also saw that lot of people are coming back and saying that the information is wrongly put on the card. Is that something you are seeing here as well?
Speaker: No we haven’t had any such instance here. Maybe very few. But I think Aadhaar is coming up with another process where they can get it corrected. We will have these permanent centres in all the post offices. A resident can go there and whatever the change that is required, probably he will have to pay some amount and get it corrected, and another card will be issued to him after processing.
INTERVIEWER: You are BA pass right. What are the people from other qualifications who they are hiring?
Speaker: Yes. They are also taking Second PUC and B.A. graduates.
INTERVIEWER: Are there no people who have done B.Sc and B.Com?
Speaker: They are also there.
For us what we have done in Comant is only if a person has completed his 12th Standard plus we consider him for employment otherwise we don't take them. What we do at the time of recruitment, we put them through a typing test. Only if he reaches the 25 to 30 word per minute we take them.
INTERVIEWER: Is it a one year contract?
Speaker: No it’s a 10 months contract. One good thing about this project, and having done a pilot earlier, is that we have been able to get a lot of people who are good operators who even go on to become field managers. Somebody like this boy - he could tomorrow become a field manager, managing an entire taluk. He would have started with us as an operator. Then he graduates to become supervisor. Then he becomes an assistant field manager and then he becomes a field manager. He could then become a district manager handling an entire district like Mysore. We are promoting and grooming bright kids who show a good understanding of the process.
INTERVIEWER: Is he a supervisor?
Speaker: No, operator. He says he does around 70 enrollments in a day. Such people they will be doing both.
INTERVIEWER: What is your name?
Speaker: My name is Muthuram.
INTERVIEWER: There is an appraisal process?
Speaker: What Telkar does is he has a weekly review meeting with all the field managers. And then he does a centre wise review of the productivity, attendance and any attrition. We have one field manager for each taluk. For 7 taluks there are 7 field managers who come and sit for a review with him. He does a weekly review. The review he gives becomes a basis for me for the review I have to attend with the government of Karnataka.
So that acts as an input. I do a review with them before I attend the review meeting with the government. And probably for some of the UID review meetings I attend, I take inputs based on the review meeting that we have with these guys. I am heading the operations for the entire country. For Comat and Glodyne. We call it RBU - Revenue Business Unit - and I head the operations for that.
INTERVIEWER: Its headquartered here in Mysore?
Speaker: No in Bangalore. In fact right now after this Aadhaar is complete. I have shifted base to Bangalore. 5 days a week I operate out of Bangalore. And then keep travelling to all the districts where this is going on at least in the initial phases. So that talking to the district administration and coming back and interacting with the registrars.
We a are working for multiple registrars. We work for Department of Posts in Pondicherry, Karnataka, Goa and we are working with the Goa government. We are working very actively with the SBI in Tamil Nadu. We are doing enrollment in almost 13 districts for them. Basically coordination with all the registrars and taking care of all the internal teams and operationalising the whole project will my responsibility.
I have people like Telkar who are Zonal Managers. They take care of one division. Mysore division will have 7 districts under him. For each district we have a district manager and in each district there will be 7-8 field managers based on the number of taluks. Below the field managers they will have the supervisors etc. We also have the tech support team.
Lot of central work is done in Mysore. There are people for process planning and interaction with UID. The tech support team coordinates with the tech team of UID in terms of the new Adhaar client that is released. The technical interaction with the Government of Karnataka. Providing feed back to make the KYR Plus more robust. I have some three-four support teams working along with the operations team.
INTERVIEWER: So the entire organisational structure has been established for the Aadhaar?
Speaker: Correct. We call it the RBU - Revenue Business Unit.
INTERVIEWER: Prior to Aadhaar did your older projects have a similar structure?
Speaker: Most these guys have worked with the EPIC - the voter photo ID card project, they have worked for the PDS project. They have worked for Nemmadhi. They have worked for many projects. In fact we have been able to draw from their experience and do all this field level implementation.
INTERVIEWER: How many operators do you have in all?
Speaker: In Mysore we had around 750-800 operators when the project was at its peak. 350 stations were working and at that time we had 800 people. That is direct, i.e operators, supervisors, helpers. Here we are doing a 7 day operation. I need to have one operator extra for each centre so that I give a weekly-off on rotation. So I can't have the operators work through the week on week.
So we have extra operators. Like that for every station that I have, I have to have one guy extra. Even though I had 350 stations I had 700 people directly working for enrollment plus a lot of support staff. At its peak we were employing close to 900 people in Mysore. Now in Belgaum division for 7 districts we will be employing close to around 3500 people. Mysore another 7 districts we are starting we will be employing another 3000 people.
When all the 14 districts are operating across these two divisions I will have close to 6500 people working for over a 10 month to 12 month period for the UID alone.
INTERVIEWER: You are actually find these people with the requisite background? If your recruitment localised anywhere?
Speaker: It is localised. But what we do is, some of the smart ones we pick them up and convert them and give them higher responsibilities and send them other districts, if they are willing. We found many of them who are willing and we pay them more because they bring experience to the table and they also teach the other guys the best practices and get them up to speed quickly. So, like that we are planning to have a team that will move to all districts by rotation.
And then train the operators and teach them the best practices and help them reach 50-60 enrollments a day and stay there for a few days or a week and then move to the next district. Like that we want to form a crack team of 50-60 operators.
For a day if I can do 200 enrollments the first 200 that come in day will get enrolled and the next 200 would be given the next days... and we would insist on seeing their documents. At least the proof of identity documents and tell them that you have to come tomorrow with a proper proof of address document along with the proof of identity document and all the KYR plus documents.
So like that we have some centres up to three months where we had advance bookings being done. We also did not have enough stations to deploy. We had to procure and then establish. This gave us a good idea as to what is the kind of response that we are getting in different pockets within the city. Out of the 350 that we planned to deploy, we first deployed 150 in the city.
So some places where we had 90 days advance reservations done. Such places we has 10-12 stations within that geographical area. So that 90 day waiting came down to less than 15 days. So we were able to catch up, and in the later stages we had to remove the stations and re-deploy it in other areas because we did not have enough people coming in.
INTERVIEWER: This is the Sunday crowd?
Speaker: This is because of the PDS. Otherwise in the same place if you had come one month back we had 16-17 stations, we reduced it to 9. Because there were not many people coming in.
INTERVIEWER: Just wanted to clarify the scanning of documents. That is something which the state government wants, specific to Karnataka.
Speaker: Yes. This is unique to the government of Karnataka. There are the only ones who are insisting on online scanning.
Whereas with all other registrars they collect a copy of the POI and POA and attach it along with the application form, and there is an agency that has been appointed by UID, they come, collect it and do the scanning, store it for UIDAI and send the scanned copies to the UIDAI for their storage.
INTERVIEWER: I think HP is not is doing it.
Speaker: Yes, I understand that HP is now the agency doing it.
(Fight breaks out in Kannada in background)
INTERVIEWER: Multiple registrars has not yet happened?
Speaker: It has in mostly the districts in North Karnataka. Department of Post...
INTERVIEWER: and the NPR...
Speaker: NPR is happening but it is not that active. NSDL has started.
INTERVIEWER: Some of the banks...
Speaker: At least in Karnataka because of the overwhelming presence of the e-governance department which has dominated. Post offices that have been started in Hubli and Dharwad: there they have been unable to handle the crowd. They are coming from the post office to our centres. If you have one station in one post office and you have a crowd like this it will take them a month just to get his crowd enrolled.
It is not going to help.
INTERVIEWER: I think in Bombay they are doing it in banks.
Speaker: We are doing it for SBI. Right now we are doing it in Salem, Namakkal and Thanjavur districts. They have given us another 10 districts, the SBI.