Students seeking government scholarships and fellowships will need to declare Aadhaar numbers by the end of June, the human resources development (HRD) ministry notified on Wednesday, putting yet another of its benefits programme behind the Unique Identity project (UID) wall.
“The use of Aadhaar as identity document for delivery of services or benefits or subsidies simplifies the government delivery processes, brings in transparency and efficiency, and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly in a convenient and seamless manner and Aadhaar obviates the need for producing multiple documents to prove one’s identity,” the government stated in its notification.
Students have till June 30 to declare their Aadhaar numbers, or apply for one and declare the enrolment number, to their colleges.
The notification, a copy of which is with HT, came into effect from Wednesday, covering all states excluding Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir.
Activists have criticised the government’s move to make the Aadhaar programme – the enrolment to a national database with biometric information such as fingerprints and iris scans – must for those drawing state benefits. The criticism has centred around a Supreme Court order in September last year, when it said that people without UID numbers must not be denied assistance.
The UGC in July last year asked universities to mandatorily ask fellowship and scholarship beneficiaries to declare their 12-digit UID numbers but backtracked on it two months later, around the same time as the SC order.
Sources said there will be a delay in processing fellowship amount in case students are unable to provide their Aadhaar number.
In addition to the JRF, 17 fellowship schemes — including the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), the Emeritus fellowship, the Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Candidates — will be covered under the rule.
Post graduate scholarship for university rank holder, post graduate scholarship for single girl child and other UGC scholarships will also be awarded only after Aadhaar is declared.
SOURCE: HT EDUCATION