July 2015: In Delhi's heat and humidity, Anna sleeps
on a bench during the 5 hours it took @CGHS
to apply to transfer his CGHS card to Delhi
Why is this something to write about when it is (or should be) a fairly simple task? Because, it isn't. Specially if you are not able bodied, or haven't lived at your current address for ages and ages.
|What is Aadhaar?|
Photo Courtesy www.aadhar-card-status.com
So why am I getting him an Aadhaar card? Because last year the CMO at his CGHS wellness centre asked for his Aadhaar number.
When the CMO was told that Anna did not have an Aadhaar number, the CMO suggested we get one and link Anna's Aadhaar Number to his CGHS membership to avail of "enhanced CGHS benefits online". What these benefits are, no one seems to know. But like any simple, law abiding Indian, I decided to get Anna an Aadhaar Card, finally proving to myself that I am a sucker for punishment!
Then came the job of applying for a unique identification number. Downloading the form was easy. It was the proof of address that added spice to the task. Anna lives in a rented flat leased in my name. All his utility bills are similarly in my name. His bank accounts etc. all have his Bangalore address.
So I did what any person does nowadays. I went online to search for a solution, and didn't find any. Finally the branch manager of the bank, where Anna has his pension account, suggested that I change Anna's mailing address to Delhi (without moving the account). We managed to do this by submitting letters and documents (including mine).
|The main Aadhaar offices|
|Aadhaar Thumbprint Scanning|
Photo Courtecy www.TheHindu.com
Finally, I reach out on Facebook, and a former colleague told me to come to Noida to a centre run under the aegis of SETU, an NGO. We decide to cart Anna 20kms away to Nithari Village, Noida, in 41˚C heat.
We find the center with ease. The operator is ready for us. Quickly Anna's documents are submitted, details entered, retina scanned, and photograph taken. It takes multiple tries to scan Anna's thumb prints and fingerprints. And as we wait for the operator to verify the clarity of Anna's prints, we have this conversation:
Anna: How many body parts do they need to put into the computer to know that I exist!
Me (confused and amused by "body parts into a computer!"): Anna, they only need your retina scan and finger prints in addition to your photo.
|Photo Coutesy |
We all laugh. Including the operator.
Me: Anna, even if you rob a house, with your speed of walking, the cops will catch you. They don't need your fingerprints.
Anna's smile broadens.
Anna (thinking of the recent Gaya Road Rage Case): They will catch me near the scene of the robbery even if it is 56 hours after the crime!
With your slow shuffle, they will dad. They sure will.
We now wait for the Aadhaar Card to come by post.
I continue to research the "benefits and increased quality of services"
as a result of linking an Aadhaar Card to CGHS membership.