Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI on Wednesday said the family of the 11-year old Jharkhand girl who allegedly died of starvation had Aadhaar and stringent action should be taken against those who denied her government benefits. Activists have alleged that the 11-year-old girl in Simdega district died of starvation as her family’s ration card was cancelled as it was not linked to Aadhaar.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey termed the incident as “unfortunate”. He asserted that this was not a case of denial of benefits because of Aadhaar, as the family had the 12-digit identifier since 2013.
The Section 7 of Aadhaar Act stipulates that the benefit shall be given on the basis of Aadhaar card or authentication, he added. “The Jharkhand government has ordered a probe in the matter to find out the facts behind the unfortunate incident. I expect that person responsible for denial of benefits –inspite of Aadhaar card — will be held accountable and necessary action will be taken against such people by the state, so that it acts as a deterrent for future,” Pandey told PTI.
He further said that the Aadhaar Act was “absolutely clear” that no one would be denied benefits for lack of Aadhaar. “…Section 7 specifies that till Aadhaar number is prescribed, the benefits should be given through alternate means of identification,” he said.
Stating that the guilty should be held accountable and punished, Pandey said that all field agencies should also be extremely sensitive in ensuring that the benefits, subsidies or programmes flow to the grassroots. “…the field agencies should be sensitive to the needs of the people and ensure they do not do anything that result in denial of benefits,” he added.