The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has expressed concern over the Centre’s push to link the Aadhaar number with subsidy schemes related to school education.

In a recent inter-ministerial meeting, the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), under the HRD Ministry, said the decision to use the Aadhaar number as an identification document for receiving benefits under various school-related schemes needs more deliberation.

The HRD Ministry official was responding to the Cabinet Secretariat’s directive in November, asking 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.

31 schemes identified to be linked with Aadhar
So far, the Centre has identified 31 schemes where the Aadhaar number can be used as identification for providing various benefits. Ministries will either ask all beneficiaries to furnish Aadhaar details for receiving benefits under Central government schemes or will help them get enrolled under Aadhaar.

Some Schemes identified
Some of the identified schemes include direct cash transfer of food subsidy under the National Food Security Act, supplementary nutrition to children below six and pregnant mothers, along with monthly honorarium for anganwadi workers under the Integrated Child Development Services, and subsidy on housing loans under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen).

However, there is uncertainty over the 11 schemes, such as Mid-Day Meal Scheme and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, of the HRD Ministry identified to be covered under the Aadhaar Act.

Reason for such uncertainty
The proposed notification to link two centrally sponsored student scholarship schemes – to promote enrolment of girl child and economically weaker sections in schools – with Aadhaar has been put on hold after the Supreme Court stayed the mandatory use of Aadhaar in one of the scholarship schemes of West Bengal in September.