The state higher and technical education department has made authentication of Aadhaar number a must for backward engineering students to avail scholarships. The move comes against the backdrop of large-scale scholarship scam across the state.
Though decision has been welcomed by city engineering colleges, they feel the authentication process will burden them with extra work.
In a gazette notification dated April 13, the department states that every student desirous of availing benefits under the schemes specified in Schedule ‘A’ need to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo authentication process.
The process involves submission of aadhaar number along with demographic information or biometrics of the beneficiary to the Central Indentities Data Repository for verification. The repository verifies the correctness of the claims on the basis of information available with it. The repository is a centralized database having all aadhaar numbers.
Schemes listed in Schedule ‘A’ are Rajashri Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Shulk Shishyavrutti Yojana and Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Vastigruh Nirvah Bhatta Yojana. The scholarships are meant for other backward class (OBC) students and take care of certain percentage of tuition and hostel fee.
The directorate of technical education’s website, too, has alerted students to provide aadhaar authentication details otherwise their reimbursement would be put on hold.
The notification issued by deputy secretary Kiran Patil clarifies that students who do not have enrolled for Aadhaar can still available the scholarships on two conditions. The Aadhaar enrolment ID slip can be attached to their applications. In case they are not able to enrol due to non-availability of enrolment centres, they may write to the UIDAI’s designated field offices or register through its web portal and attach a copy of this request with the application. The students will also have to submit a proof of identity from one of the listed documents that included voter ID card, PAN, passport driving licence, bank passbook, etc.
The department has issued the guidelines under section 3 and 4 of the Maharashtra Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act 2016, that is stringent than the mother Act. As per the new Act, proof of possession of Aadhaar number or authentication is required in availing state government subsidy, benefits or services.
A city college principal said the aadhaar ID is itself foolproof and there was no need to add an extra authentication process. “A person’s biometric details can be viewed through Aadhaar number. Why principals should be asked to verify a student’s domicile. The social welfare department too had asked us to verify students’ income proof. This is the tehsildar or SDO’s job. They have only increased our work,” he said.