Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) leverages YouTube for creating awareness about Aadhar, the unique identification project of the Government of India and increase enrolments.
Aadhar, which is one of the flagship projects of the UPA Government formed under the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), to give a unique 12-digit identification number to all residents of the country, is aimed at ensuring efficiency in delivery of basic services and improving governance on the whole.
Formally launched in September 2010, it did receive a decent response till it encountered some roadblocks leading to its suspension. But the issues seem to have been resolved and the enrolment process has restarted in some parts of the country.
In order to ensure there is a good turnout at the enrolment centres and the entire country is covered under the scheme, the UIDAI has formally launched a YouTube channel to create awareness about Aadhar, explain its benefits and clear any misconceptions. The videos are basic and get the intended message across effectively. Some of the videos are TVCs while some seem to be short films.
At present the channel has 15 videos in different dialects, with various themes and social settings and more to be added in future if the Director General of UIDAI, RS Sharma, is to be believed. Even though the channel was formally launched only recently the first video was uploaded on March 15, 2012 with subsequent videos uploaded at regular intervals. At the time of writing, the channel had 60 subscribers and 2491 total views.
A good initiative but it lacks strategy
After coming to know about the Aadhar YouTube channel, I was intrigued to check it out and know about the process and benefits of the scheme in greater detail. Though there is no lack of effort on that front, the YouTube channel leaves a lot to be desired:
1. Some of the videos which apparently are short films are actually too long to be viewed in one go with the limited bandwidth availability in most parts of the country. No wonder those videos have got miniscule views if you include the fact that they were uploaded months ago. The channel has a mere average viewership of 166 with no comments. Hopefully, with the formal launch we might see an increase in the numbers.
2. By choosing a social media platform, it signifies that the primary target group here is the net savvy urban audience with preferably a broadband connection. If that is really the case, the number of views suggest that either it has not been promoted well by other online means yet or the content has not appealed to the target group. The latter point could be the real reason as most of the videos have a rural setting and are too basic for an urban user’s liking and hence not being shared or talked about elsewhere.
Can they better it?
If UIDAI feels that using a social medium like YouTube can help in creating awareness and bringing people to the enrolment centres then why not use other social media platforms where there are millions of active Indian users across all demographics? By restricting themselves to YouTube no significant change is going to happen with regard to awareness and turnouts.
Therefore, I suggest the UIDAI to have an all-round approach and utilise other mediums as well. For example, Facebook and Twitter can be used to propagate the message to a huge audience and also allowing their queries and grievances to be submitted and responded to faster.
It is time for the Govt and its agencies, on the whole, to become approachable through social means and have a two-way communication with the people rather than just blowing their own trumpet.
Do let me know what you think about the YouTube channel and what else can be done to make Aadhar, at least, an online success.