The dream of Digital India seems to be coming true in Jammu and Kashmir. After digitalizing two dozen government services, now every household in Jammu and Kashmir will get a unique identification UID. According to the government, it’s being done under the Digital India program where all the details of the residents including the details of the property, like the nature of the property, dimensions of the property, and location will be digitised. Although the locals of the Srinagar city are apprehensive that it’s the first step towards implementation of the property tax in the Valley. The government says this will help them to store the data of every household including their address, number of family members, their electricity and water bills along with other necessary information.
Chief Secretary, Jammu Kashmir Arun Kumar Mehta said that when people used to visit a government office, they needed to give all details and it used to take hours. “In digital time, there should be no need for that, we don’t want any ques in offices, everything can be done online. We are number one in the number of online services provided in the Union territory. People need to be aware that they don’t need to visit offices but all services will be provided online. This will benefit the locals a lot. The idea is that locals need not come to us for work, and the government will go to them,” said Mehta.
The Unique ID will be provided not only to the houses but also to commercial buildings, streets, and heritage sites. Srinagar Municipality Commissioner Ather Aamir said that every house in the city that falls under the jurisdiction of Srinagar will be given a unique ID number which will help to locate the address of any person easily while clearing that it has nothing to do with the property tax as that is a separate issue.
“We have done surveys of over 2 lakhs 30 thousand premises. We have checked whether the properties are residential or commercial. The drainage, water and electricity system has been checked. We have numbered the streets. It’s a digital planning of the city. Now we will put a metal board outside every house and it will have a QR code, this will create a better system of planning. Tax is a separate part. This is a modern way of improving services,” said Aamir.
Last year, when the UT government of Jammu and Kashmir announced the imposition of property tax in urban areas, the majority of the political parties, civil societies and other trade unions opposed it. Sensing the situation may turn ugly, the UT administration then put the decision on hold. Now that the government has started the process of providing UID and is registering all the details of Srinagar households, the property tax issues have been raised again. The move to issue a “Unique Identification Number” (UID) to the Srinagar residents has been criticized by the regional political parties as well.