CHENNAI: Amid the uproar over linking of Aadhaar with electricity service connection, it is learnt that the State government has already made it mandatory to similarly link beneficiaries’ Aadhaar under various State and Centre-sponsored schemes in at least seven departments, including Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Social Welfare and Women Empowerment, and Welfare of Differently Abled Persons.
The departments have issued separate orders in this regard under Section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, to avail government schemes benefits, subsidies, scholarships, or assistance.
A senior official said linking Aadhaar with the welfare schemes, subsidies and benefits would help prevent leakage and offer seamless delivery. “Now, more than 99 per cent of adults have Aadhaar. The coverage is no longer an issue and it will help identify the duplication of beneficiaries,” the official added.
The Agriculture Department has mandated the linking of Aadhaar for as many as 53 schemes. In a notification, it said using Aadhaar as an identity document for delivery of services, benefits or subsidies simplifies the delivery processes, brings in transparency and efficiency, and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly in a convenient and seamless manner by preventing the need to produce multiple documents to prove one’s identity.
Similarly, the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department has made it mandatory to link Aadhaar to avail of scholarship schemes. There are over 10.3 lakh students who avail of scholarships through the department. T Anand, director, Adi Dravidar Welfare, said the Union government directives have made Aadhaar linkage and Aadhaar-based payments mandatory for scholarship schemes with both the central and the State funding components from this year. He added that Aadhaar linking would help detect duplication and avoid mismatch of beneficiaries’ names.
“Earlier, the ration card would be insisted upon for everything. Now, it has been replaced with the Aadhaar. However, unlike ration cards, there is a question on the security of personal data linked to it,” said Tamil Nadu Vivasaigal Sangam president P Shanmugham.