Lack of Aadhaar-No one to be deprived of benefits. Government says benefits to continue with alternate means in particular Mid day meals
After the press conference held today by the activists protesting the making Aadhaar compulsory for various services, the Cabinet Secretariat swung into action by releasing a press note saying that no one to be deprived of benefits for lack of Aadhaar indentity card. The activists were inter alia infuriated by the Government notification making Aadhaar madnadory for serving midday meal to children.
It is notable that in 2013, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has ruled that “no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card inspite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhaar card voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to any illegal immigrant”. Again in 2015, the Hon’ble Court ordered that It is not Mandatory for a Citizen to Obtain Aadhaar Card Neither It is a Condition for Obtaining any Benefits Otherwise due to a Citizen.
It was only in February, 2017 that the CJI has indicated setting up of a Constitution Bench to hear bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Scheme.
The Press Release issued by the Cabinet Secretariat is as under:
Government has said that no one will be deprived of the benefits for lack of Aadhaar. In a statement issued today, the Government has 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 has 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.
Aadhaar has been given to more than 112 Crore people. With such wide and extensive coverage, Aadhaar has become an important tool of transformation, good governance and empowerment of people. It ensures that the benefits reach only the deserving and entitled individuals and are not cornered away by fake persons and middlemen. Various studies and survey had earlier pointed out massive leakages in welfare schemes. During the last two and half years, Aadhaar has helped in direct delivery of benefits to crores of people through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in schemes such as LPG subsidy under Pahal, Scholarships, MNREGA, and Pensions. In the Public Distribution System, Aadhaar is also ensuring that the food grains are received only by the genuine beneficiaries and not diverted by any middle man or unscrupulous elements. It has, thus, saved huge sums of public money which otherwise was being siphoned away by middlemen. The total savings because of plugging of leakages due to Aadhaar during the last two and half years in just a few schemes where Aadhaar has been implemented amount to more than Rs 49,000 Crore.