As many as 37 lakh children of more over 49,000 government schools in Rajasthan may soon be denied midday meals as they are yet to get Aadhaar numbers. According to a letter from the HRD ministry to the Rajasthan chief secretary, 42% students in the state have enrolled for Aadhaar; August 31 is the deadline for enrollment for a unique identification number, generated by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
The HRD ministry has further asked the secretary to target a 100% Aadhaar enrollment, reported Hindustan Times. The ministry has sought response on Aadhaar enrolment from chief secretaries of 16 states and union territories. This comes as the Centre made Aadhaar mandatory for availing government benefits such as mid-day meals. In February, children and parents were given time until 30 June to get Aadhaar numbers. The Supreme Court is yet to give the final verdict on making Aadhaar mandatory.
The number is alarming as over 62.78 lakh elementary students (Class 1-8), studying in 49,769 government schools in Rajasthan, now get nutritional benefits from the midday meal scheme, according to official data. Cook-cum-helpers working under the scheme were also asked to get Aadhaar numbers.