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Q. Linking Aadhar to mid-day meal scheme: Comment on the issue of linking Aadhar to mid-day meal scheme.
Mar 08, 2017 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently the Human Development Ministry has issued notification of making Aadhar card mandatory for students to get mid-day meal in schools across the country. This rule will be applicable across the country, except Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam. Students across the country have given time till June 30 for those who are not yet enrolled.

Issue-

More than a billion Indians have already obtained their Aadhaar numbers, but forcing young children to enrol themselves for Aadhaar to get their free meal at school would make any kind of sense only if the idea was to transfer money to the beneficiaries, instead of serving them a wholesome meal. But forcing children to get Aadhar card to get mid-day meal looks irrational. 

Analysis-

  • Aadhaar makes sense in many subsidy schemes, because by transferring cash to the intended beneficiary’s bank account, much fraud and waste can be eliminated. But this would not work with the midday meal scheme, which was implemented nationwide in 2008.
  • The midday meal scheme has multiple goals, like it incentivises attendance. Midday meals make children mix with others from different backgrounds. It is also a way to break down barriers of caste and religion differences that infest society today.
  • A meal shared among kids, irrespective of what neighbourhood or mohalla they have come from, and irrespective of the caste or community of the cook, can break down artificial walls of castiesm. 
  • Transferring cash, in the hope that the money would be spent on a nutritional meal for the child, does not guarantee either the meal or school attendance. If Aadhaar and cash transfers, in place of midday meals, are inflicted on poor and very young Indians, it would mean backtracking from two other goals. 
  • We do not have such infrastructure to get each student enrolled in short time. Hence it not rational to make to make Aadhar card mandatory. Hence India needs some time to get Aadhar mandatory in schools. 

Conclusion-

The government’s move to make Aadhar card mandatory in schools is though well intended, but mid-day meals serves larger purpose. Making Aadhar mandatory will have manifold impact on the purpose that mid-day meal serves. Hence we need to wait for some time to make Aadhar mandatory in our country. 


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