Now, Aadhaar made mandatory for scholarship schemes

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NEW DELHI: FEB 17,
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has made Aadhaar mandatory for providing scholarships to meritorious school students of economically weaker sections despite initial reluctance.
Students who want to avail scholarship benefits under ‘National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme’ need to get enrolled under Aadhaar by June 30, according to a notification issued by the HRD Ministry on February 15.
“The responsibility to collect Aadhaar from students or to authenticate them, as the case may be, shall be on the Principal of the School concerned, in coordination with parents or guardians of the children,” the notification said. The school Principals will have to make arrangements to take children to nearest Aadhaar Enrolment Center.
In 2015-16, around 2.05 lakh students were beneficiary of the scheme, launched in 2008, aimed at arresting school drop outs at class VIII and encourage children to continue their studies at secondary stage. Scholarship of Rs. 500 per month is awarded to meritorious students every year for study in classes from IX to XII in state government, government-aided and local body schools.
Aadhaar has also been made mandatory for 12 scholarship schemes administered by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for Scheduled Caste, Other Backward Classes (OBC), economically backward classes and semi-nomadic and nomadic tribe students. Such students need to apply for Aadhaar by March 31.
Earlier, the decision to bring scholarship schemes under Aadhaar was put on hold following suggestions from Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the nodal body assigned to roll out Aadhaar all over the country, to the HRD Ministry. The UIDAI informed the HRD Ministry how that Supreme Court has stayed the mandatory use of Aadhaar in one of the scholarship schemes of the West Bengal government in September last year.
The Cabinet Secretariat had then advised the UIDAI to take the opinion of the Attorney General in the matter.
The Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), under the HRD Ministry, had also expressed concerns over the Centre’s push to link the Aadhaar number with subsidy schemes related to school education in an inter-ministerial meeting held in December, The Hindu had reported on February 6.
“As the schemes are huge, impacting education of children across the country, the matter has to be examined in greater detail,” the DSEL had told the Cabinet Secretariat in a meeting held on December 23.
The Cabinet Secretariat has asked all the Ministries to issue notification under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, which makes the use of Aadhaar “an identifier for delivery of various subsidies or benefits or schemes” to beneficiaries.
The Centre has so far identified 31 schemes where the Aadhaar number can be used as identification for providing various benefits.
It has already issued notifications for availing subsidised foodgrains under the National Food Security Act, availing jobs under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, getting pension benefits under Employees’ Pension Scheme, among others.

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