Facing criticism for the making Aadhar card mandatory for the benefits of mid-day meal, the government on Tuesday cancelled its earlier order saying no one will be deprived of the benefits for lack of Aadhaar. In a statement issued, the government reiterated that till Aadhaar number is assigned to any individual, the benefit will continue to be given based on alternate means of identification.
It also directed the departments to provide Aadhaar enrolment facilities to their beneficiaries under Regulation 12 of Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations 2016.
Considering the usefulness of Aadhaar in curbing leakages and bringing transparency in delivery system, the government had recently issued orders to use Aadhaar in several other welfare schemes funded from the Consolidated Fund of India. While these orders require beneficiaries of these programs to give their Aadhaar number, it has also been ensured that no one is deprived of the benefits for want of Aadhaar.
In case of Mid Day Meal scheme and under the Integrated Child Development Scheme, the schools and Anganwadis have been asked to collect the Aadhaar number of the children beneficiaries and in case a child does not have Aadhaar, the school or ICDS functionary will be required to provide enrolment facilities to a child and till Aadhaar number is assigned, the benefits will be continue.
The Opposition had slammed the NDA government’s move to link midday meal scheme benefits with Aadhaar card, saying the decision should not be “forced” on children.
Midday meal scheme (MDMS) is a centrally sponsored scheme to boost the universalisation of primary education by increasing enrolment, retention and attendance in primary and upper primary classes. As per guidelines, cooked meals are to be provided with 450 and 700 calories and 12 gm and 20 gm protein contents for primary and upper primary schoolchildren, respectively.