Facing flak, Govt says Aadhaar not mandatory for mid-day meal

The beneficiaries would continue to receive their benefits using an alternate form of identification until they get an Aadhaar number.

New Delhi: After facing severe flak for making Aadhaar card a requisite to avail the mid-day meal scheme, the government on Tuesday revoked its previous order saying that no one will be deprived of benefits due to the lack of Aadhaar.

According to an Indian Express report, the government in a statement said that people can avail benefits using a different form of identification until they get an Aadhaar number.

The government also asked the departments to provide enrolment facilities to beneficiaries under Regulation 12 of Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations 2016.

For the mid-day meal scheme and other schemes under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, the schools and anganwadis have been instructed to gather Aadhaar numbers for the children. In case they do not possess one, the school or the ICDS will enable the child to enrol for the same.

However, the benefits would not stop till the number is assigned.

The government had recently ordered to link Aadhaar for welfare schemes funded by the Consolidated Fund of India, in an attempt to make the delivery system more transparent.

Opposition parties had trashed the governement’s decision to link the scheme benefits with Aadhaar, saying it should not be forced upon children.

Midday meal scheme (MDMS) is a Centrally-sponsored scheme to boost the universalisation of primary education by increasing enrollment, retention and attendance in primary and upper primary classes.

The programme has been allocated Rs 10,000 crore in the 2017-18 Union Budget, up by Rs 300 crore from the previous year.

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