Students will now be required to have an Aadhaar number for getting their midday meals across the country. The HRD ministry issued a notification in this regard on the last day of February.
Cook-cum-helpers working under the midday meal scheme will also have to furnish Aadhaar number.
This rule will be applicable across the country, except Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam.
However, the ministry has given time till June 30 for those who are not yet enrolled. “The use of Aadhaar as identity document for delivery of services, benefits or subsidies simplifies the government delivery process and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly and in a seamless manner,” reads the notification.
According to the ministry, the move is aimed at ensuring greater transparency and to increase overall efficiency. Of the total enrolment of 13.16 crore children, 10.03 crore children availed midday meal on an average basis in 11.50 lakh schools during 2015-16.
The Central government has been trying to link the Aadhaar number with subsidy schemes related to school education.
“A notification will be sent to schools that students desirous of availing the benefits under the Midday meal scheme will be required to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo the authentication,” said a senior official.
The cook-cum-helpers engaged under the scheme for preparing and serving midday meals at schools are honorary workers who come forward for rendering social services and are aid an honorarium for the same.
“The cook-cum-helpers are also treated as beneficiaries under the scheme and hence they will also be required to furnish Aadhaar numbers,” said a senior official.
In an inter-ministerial meeting earlier this year, HRD ministry had raised concerns over the decision to use the Aadhaar number as an identification document for receiving benefits under various school-related schemes saying the plan needs more deliberation.