Following a spate of criticism over its recent decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for over a dozen welfare schemes, the government has clarified that no one will be deprived of their benefits for lack of the 12-digit unique identity number.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Centre said till an Aadhaar number is assigned to any individual, the benefits will continue to be doled out based on alternate means of identification.
It also directed all departments to provide Aadhaar enrolment facilities to their beneficiaries under Regulation 12 of Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations 2016.So far, Aadhaar has been given to more than 112 crore people.
“In case of mid-day meal scheme and under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, the schools and anganwadis have been asked to collect the Aadhaar number of the children beneficiaries and in case a child does not have it, the school or ICDS functionary will be required to provide enrolment facilities to a child and till the number is assigned, the benefits will be continue,” the statement said.
In August 2015, the Supreme Court had ruled that while Aadhaar can be used for five public distribution schemes such as providing foodgrains and kerosene, it can’t be made mandatory jeopardising the government’s plan to use the unique identity number to track every penny of public expenditure, roll out its financial inclusion schemes and weed out corruption from welfare schemes.