Aadhaar must for students getting fellowship from central universities

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has written to all central universities asking them to provide the names of research scholars getting a fellowship and their Aadhaar numbers by the end of July so that there is no duplication and real beneficiaries get the benefits of government scholarships and fellowships.

According to a senior UGC official, fellowships and scholarships have been linked to Aadhaar from this academic year. It has been made mandatory for scholars who have qualified NET and are availing the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) to provide their Aadhaar card number to the universities.

“The HRD ministry had instructed the UGC that from the financial year 2016-17 Aadhaar has been made mandatory for disbursement of all government subsidies/scholarships/fellowships. These will be disbursed directly to the beneficiaries’ account (Direct Bank Transfer),” a senior official said.

The official said that they have sent a number of communications to the universities to comply with the order. He added that the proposal will ensure students get their fellowship amount on time and there is no discrimination.

“A decision was taken to link every student’s bank account with their respective Aadhaar numbers to ensure they can apply for their fellowship as well as scholarship without any problem. It will also allow greater transparency and we will have a data of the number of students who are getting the benefit,” the official said.

Sources said there will be a delay in processing the fellowship amount in case students are unable to provide their Aadhaar number.

Many students, however, are wary of the proposal and raised fears that their grant will be allocated late. Some even said they do not have Aadhaar number yet.

“We will have to apply for the card. I’m not from Delhi and I don’t have address proof so I will have to provide my hometown address. I hope there will not be a delay during verification otherwise, my fellowship will get delayed,” a student of a central university said.

The Supreme Court said last year that Aadhaar could be linked to six government schemes – Public Distribution Scheme, LPG distribution Scheme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the National Social Assistance Programme, Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation – on a ‘voluntary’ basis.