Mid-day meals: ‘Move to make Aadhaar compulsory violates Right to Food’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on March 05, 2017

The Centre’s move to make Aadhaar compulsory for children under the government’s mid-day meal scheme violates the Supreme Court’s order and should be withdrawn, the Right to Food Campaign (RFC), an umbrella of hundreds of organisations and individuals, said in a statement.

“School meals are an important entitlement of Indian children, legally enforceable under Supreme Court orders as well as under the National Food Security Act,” RFC said, citing numerous studies that show that scheme has made an “important contribution to higher school attendance, better child nutrition and more effective learning.”

Mid-day meals also help to break the barriers of class and caste by imparting to children of diverse backgrounds a habit of sharing meals, it said, adding that conditionalities, such as Aadhaar enrolment, were “bound to disrupt instead of helping this important programme.”

It may be recalled that the Supreme Court has made it clear that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for any services to which people are otherwise entitled. It has also made it clear that the Aadhaar Act does not supersede these orders, until such time as the Court settles the issue of compatibility of Aadhaar with the right to privacy.

RFC said during the past few years, Aadhaar has been made compulsory for a growing list of welfare schemes “under the garb of making them more effective”.

“In fact, this imposition has led to serious disruptions, such as elderly people without Aadhaar being bumped off pension lists, NREGA workers being denied their wages due to seeding errors and PDS cardholders being deprived of their rations because of technical glitches.”

Published on March 05, 2017
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