Parents hesitant to fill school forms for Family ID scheme
The district administration has roped in private schools for circulation of forms for the government’s Family ID Card scheme, which is aimed at bringing welfare schemes, property deeds and driving licences under one umbrella. However, parents of schools students say they are apprehensive of sharing personal information like Aadhaar, PAN (Permanent Account Number), income status as well as caste through the schools.
Parents said filling the Family Id Card form, initially rolled out in 2019, has been made mandatory by schools based on the directives issued by the Haryana government.
The Parivar Pehchan Patra or Family ID Card scheme was introduced to create a database of the state population. The state administration had first collected the details of the government employees and then reached out to Below Poverty Line (BPL) population who are availing of benefits under government schemes.
According to the data available with the district administration, at least 112, 236 households have been covered under the scheme. To increase the enrolment, the district administration has been holding camps in different government buildings. Departments like food supply and education have been included in the task of reaching out to people.
Private schools have started circulating Family ID Card forms to parents over the last few days and asked them to submit the form directly in school or through mail.
Prasanto K Roy, a city-based technology and public policy professional, whose ward is a class 9 student at a private school in Sohna, received the letter on December 2. The mail sent by the school states that the hard copy of the filled form has to be shared at the school reception or a scanned copy of the same emailed by December 10.
“This data collection exercise is problematic on multiple fronts. A lot of data is being sought, above and beyond what is required to deliver education and related services,” said Roy.
He said that the demand for Aadhaar number violates Supreme Court guidelines. “The government website says ‘data to be taken with consent’, but the state government is mandating that consent via schools. There are also reports of plans to cross-link this database with other databases. In the absence of a privacy law, I worry about the potential abuse of this data,” said Roy.
Another parent, whose child is enrolled in a school located in Sector 49, requesting anonymity, said, “There is no official notification by the state government that makes submission of details like Aadhaar mandatory. Forcing parents to give their details is a violation of privacy. There aren’t enough details that could clarify our doubts.”
The administration has received almost 25,00 filled forms through private schools, so far, said Mahinder Singh, city project officer for Family ID Card scheme. He, however, clarified, “Aadhaar, address and mobile number are mandatory columns to fill. People can leave PAN detail out.”
According to him, nearly 80% of the data from government schools has already been submitted.
Indu Boken, the district education officer, said, “In the initial days, some parents had concerns about sharing bank and PAN Card details. After discussions with the administration, filling up these two columns are now not mandatory. I have spoken to school association heads and assuaged their concerns.”
KR Pratap Singh, president of the Haryana Progressive School Conference, a consortium of private schools, supported the state government’s move. “There is no harm in having the headcount of a family and sharing the Aadhaar number for a scheme that would lead to better planning of the future. As many as 85 schools under the consortium have already started circulating mails and Family ID forms. We have asked the school management to finish the task at the earliest.”
However, in a letter, Pratap asked schools to let dissenting parents be and those who have reservations against specific columns can omit those.