Students will now be required to have an Aadhaar number for getting their midday meals across the country. The HRD ministry issued a notification in this regard, recently. Cook-cum-helpers working under the midday meal scheme will also have to furnish Aadhaar number.
This rule will be applicable across the country, except Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam. However, the ministry has given time till June 30 for those who are not yet enrolled. “The use of Aadhaar as identity document for delivery of services, benefits or subsidies simplifies the government delivery process and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly and in a seamless manner,”.
According to the ministry, the move is aimed at ensuring greater transparency and to increase overall efficiency. Of the total enrolment of 13.16 crore children, 10.03 crore children availed midday meal on an average basis in 11.50 lakh schools during 2015-16.The Central government has been trying to link the Aadhaar number with subsidy schemes related to school education.
1) The Midday Meal Scheme is a school meal programme of the Government of India designed to improve the nutritional status of school-age children nationwide. The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government aided, local body, Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternate innovative education centres, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and National Child Labour Project schools run by the ministry of labour. Serving 120,000,000 children in over 1,265,000 schools and Education Guarantee Scheme centres, it is the largest such programme in the world.
2) Under article 24, paragraph 2(c) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India is a part, India has committed to providing "adequate nutritious foods" for children. The programme has undergone many changes since its launch in 1995. The Midday Meal Scheme is covered by the National Food Security Act, 2013.
3) Maqtabas is an Arabic word meaning elementary schools.
4) Madrasa is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious (of any religion).