According to the notification issued by the Union Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry, Aadhaar cards have been made mandatory for all the students as well as cooks to avail free meals under the Mid-Day meal scheme. HRD Ministry has given time till June 30th to enroll for Aadhaar cards to provide proof for availing mid-day meal. This rule will be applicable across the country, except Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam.
A senior ministry official said notifications have been circulated to schools about Aadhaar card to avail the free meals under Mid-day meal scheme.
The ministry’s move is in line with the Central Government’s mandate to link Aadhaar with subsidy schemes.
“The use of Aadhaar as an identity document for delivery of services, benefits or subsidies simplifies the government delivery process and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly and in a seamless manner,” senior minister further added.
According to the reports published in the Hindustan Times, ‘On an average, 10.03 crore children availed midday meals in 2015-17.’
In an inter-ministerial meeting earlier this year, HRD ministry had raised concerns over the decision to use the Aadhaar number as an identification document for receiving benefits under various school-related schemes saying the plan needs more deliberation.
According to the HRD ministry website, the central mid-day meal scheme, in 2007, “was extended to cover children of upper primary classes (i.e. class VI to VIII) studying in 3,479 Educationally Backwards Blocks (EBBs)”.