The 12-digit biometric-based unique identification or Aadhaar number will help the government keep track of every child born in India till he or she reaches school and ensure every paisa spent on state-sponsored schemes for children’s welfare makes it to the desired target.
The elaborate child-tracking system will be launched this year as part of the Narendra Modi government’s decision to disburse all benefits through Aadhaar-linked bank accounts.
Preparatory work has started already with the finance ministry directing in February that disbursement of money in all schemes from the current fiscal be done through Aadhaar-linked accounts.
The prime minister’s office has asked the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog to draw the framework to link all child development schemes as well as the immunisation drive with Aadhaar.
The linkage will start as soon as a pregnant woman visits a health centre for the first time or a ground-level health worker records her pregnancy to the authorities. “Her health card will be Aadhaar-linked and will mention the benefits she has received from the government,” said a senior official on condition of anonymity.
Once she delivers the child, the mother’s Aadhaar number will get mentioned in the birth certificate and immunisation card. This will help the authorities keep track of the child’s health and send text messages to the mother’s mobile phone if the child misses a scheduled vaccine.
It will create a digital health record of both mother and child, which can be accessed through the Aadhaar number from anywhere in the country.
An official said the tracking mechanism would help keep tabs on child welfare workers and improve efficiency in implementing schemes for toddlers.
The Centre disburses funds through half-a-dozen schemes of the women and child development and health ministries. “It will be real convergence of schemes and not a notional one as happened during the previous government,” said a senior official.
Once everything gets going, most likely by the later part of this year, it would be the nation’s first Aadhaar-based MIS system for tracking social sector spending. The government has set aside over Rs 4,50,000 crore for welfare schemes this fiscal.