The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has made it compulsory for all the students enjoying free meals under the mid-day meal to provide the proof of Aadhaar Cards. This move is aimed to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the system of free meals for the mid-day meal schemes. The Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), under the HRD Ministry, decided to give window until June 30 as the last date for the ones who do not have Aadhaar Cards.
According to this Notification issued by the Human Resource and Development (HRD) Ministry, the cooks or the helpers working at the mid-day meal centers also need to sign up for the new notification and provide the proof of Aadhaar Cards. The HRD ministry’s move is in line with the central government to make mandatory to link Aadhaar card information with subsidy schemes.
“The use of Aadhaar as an identity document for delivery or services, benefits or subsidies simplifies the process of delivering for the Government and enables the beneficiaries to get their claims directly and in a flawless manner.” a senior ministry official told PTI. The mid-day meal scheme is a popular free meals scheme in most of the Indian states to improve the attendance at the same time as it helps in providing enough nutrition to the potentially malnourished students. According to a Hindustan Times report, “This notification will be applicable across the country, except Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya.”
“A notification will be sent to schools that students desirous of availing the benefits under the mid-day meal scheme will be required to furnish proof of possession of Aadhar number or undergo the identification,” said a senior ministry official. “The cook-cum-helpers are also treated as beneficiaries under the scheme and hence they will also be required to furnish Aadhar numbers,” the official added.
The way the Modi Government has decided to make an Aadhar number mandatory for the MNREGA and EPS schemes, the HRD ministry has allowed the students until June 30 to sign up for an Aadhaar Card. According to the data shown by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry, 10.03 crore children took the benefits of the mid-day meal scheme in 2015-16 and only 2.5 crores of them have the Aadhaar enrollment. So, it means more than 7.5 crores to be enrolled under this scheme. According to the Sources, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Unique Identification Authority of India, which issues the Aadhaar cards, had asked the ministry to make the Aadhaar card mandatory for the mid-day meal scheme and scholarship schemes to check the corruption and increase the transparency.
In the coming some months, it will be clear that the public is happy with this decision of Modi Government or not as the public is already not in a good mood, especially after the bad implementation of the Demonetization. We just hope that this new notification by the HRD Ministry will help in curbing the corruption and promotes the transparency.