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Aadhaar for midday meals: Govt criticises states over slow linking of students

The last date for enrolment of students under Aadhaar is August, and those who have an Aadhaar number or have at least enrolled under it will get midday meals. The HRD ministry has asked states to expedite the process so that students continue to get midday meals.

Aadhaar Controversy Updated: Jul 19, 2017 12:47 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Aadhaar,Aadhaar card,HRD ministry
A man registers his fingerprint linked with his Aadhaar number.(AFP File Photo)

Scores of students in government schools across the country may be deprived of midday meals if their states continue the slow progress in getting them enrolled under Aadhaar.

A number of states such as West Bengal have not shared any data with the HRD ministry while others like Uttar Pradesh and Mizoram have only managed to get 26% students enrolled under Aadhaar, with Nagaland having 15% enrolment, Delhi 79% and Bihar 63%.

Concerned over the slow progress, the ministry has written letters to 16 states, asking them to expedite the process so that students continue to get midday meals as it has now been linked to Aadhaar.

The last date for enrolment under Aadhaar is August; those who have an Aadhaar number or have at least enrolled under it will get midday meals, officials said.

“The enrolment under Aadhaar would enable us to eliminate the proxy enrolment and provide benefits of the scheme to deserving children in a seamless manner,” reads the letter.

“Despite letters from the ministry to furnish a detailed action plan to complete 100% Aadhaar enrolment, no response from the government of Delhi has been received,” says the letter.

“I understand that due to the summer vacations, the enrolment exercise was hampered. However, now the schools have reopened, I earnestly suggest the Aadhaar enrolment campaign be given an added thrust by the Government of Delhi in a time-bound manner and be monitored personally,” the letter adds.

Gangadhar Sahoo, state coordinator of the scheme, said Odisha has managed to get 78% of kids in the age group of 5-18 years enrolled, but only 28% of them have Aadhaar numbers.

“We expect to generate Aadhaar by the end of July. The respective headmasters would collect them and get seeding done.”

“We have so far achieved 85% of the target. We want to finish it before the deadline. But it all depends on UIDAI required to make Aadhaar cards,” said Binod Kumar Singh, director of the midday meal scheme under the department of HRD, Bihar.

A Delhi government official said midday meal should not be linked to Aadhaar because that will lead to denial to those who don’t have a card.

“We would like 100% compliance for Aadhaar and are working on it. Aadhaar card is desirable but to make it compulsory for a basic facility like midday meal is not something that we support. There are so many poor students getting free food due to midday meal and one cannot just stop the facility to them because they don’t have Aadhaar card,” said a Delhi government official.

(With inputs from Debarata Mohanty in Bhubaneshwar, Vijay Swaroop in Patna and Heena Kausar in New Delhi)

First Published: Jul 13, 2017 23:49 IST