Government on Monday said it could consider extending the March 31 deadline notified for individuals registered under the rural employment guarantee scheme to apply for Aadhar enrolment, if states wanted it. Replying to a question during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, Minister of Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar said his ministry had on January 3 notified that any individual registered under the MGNREGA, who is not yet enrolled for Aadhar shall have to apply for enrolment by March 31.
As opposition members said that the notification has made Aadhar card mandatory, Tomar said the government has not made Aadhar mandatory to get work under MGNREGA. Opposition members including Congress member Renuka Chowdhury said that as per the “ground reality”, not all people may have the Aadhar card.
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To this, Rural Development minister said if problems are being faced by any state in this regard, the government could consider extending the deadline. Tomar said Aadhar was not mandatory for MGNREGA and added that the ministry had issued the notification keeping in mind the directions of the Supreme Court as well as the legislation passed by the Parliament in this regard.
“As far as the question of 31 March (deadline) is concerned, it is not the last line. If the states express a wish, in that case, we will extend it,” Tomar said, adding that under MGNREGA, 51 lakh assets have been created and geo-tagged.
Minister of State for Rural Development Ram Kirpal Yadav said upto 80 per cent of the people have gone for Aadhar and the partnership of women in the scheme has also grown. Speaking about the use of Aadhar card, Yadav said that government is trying to bring in more transparency and cleanliness in the implementation of MGNREGA. He said the government has removed around 56 lakh names, for whom money was being withdrawn fraudulently. “Money meant for the poor was being looted,” Yadav said.