NEW DELHI: The recent order asking schools to collect the Aadhaar number of each student is just an attempt to “purify student database” and monitor the mid-day meal scheme, admissions and drop-out rates better, senior government officials said.
Schools are bound to ensure that every student is enrolled for Aadhaar, but no child will be denied a mid-day meal just because he or she didn’t have the biometric identification number, they said.
“There will be no problem to the child… it is the school’s responsibility to enroll the child for Aadhaar by setting up a camp in the school itself. The government is not cruel to deny any child a mid-day meal,” a top government official told ET.“We only want to check inflated reporting of school admissions by government schools.”
Three-fourths of children in the age group of 5-18 already have got Aadhaar and the rest will be enrolled by June 30, the senior official said.
“Many a time, schools run out of rations as consumption is not monitored. An Aadhaar-based mid-day meal scheme will also help in the timely replenishment of food supplies and its planning as the HRD ministry will have an authenticated count.”
This official said the effort was to ensure the “same child is not shown in multiple schools” and that frauds by school authorities are checked. The HRD ministry had consulted the Unique Identification Authority on the matter before its February 28 notification.
He said Aadhaar in mid-day meals does not violate the Right to Education Act. Officials said enrollment of children for Aadhaar in the age group of 5-18 years is almost complete in Delhi, while it is 85% in Kerala, 68% in West Bengal and 85% in Karnataka — all states ruled by opposition parties which are up in arms against the government move.