Aadhaar to be 'essential' for food subsidies

Aadhaar to be 'essential' for food subsidies

Aadhaar to be 'essential' for food subsidies

 The Centre is planning to make Aadhaar essential for sale of highly subsidised food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

The assertion by the Centre comes in the wake of efforts to digitise all transactions related to sale of food grains supplied through the public distribution system and promote less use of cash.

The Supreme Court has told the Centre that Aadhaar will not be mandatory to deliver benefits to citizens.

“There is a fine line between essential and mandatory. We are moving towards making it (Aadhaar) essential,” Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution told a press conference here.

Preeti added that benefits will not be denied for want of Aadhaar. “There are other ways of authentication. Wait till we work out the nuances,” was her refrain to questions about whether a person will be denied benefits if he/she does not have an Aadhaar number.

Preeti said the Centre would soon issue a notification to make Aadhaar essential for receiving benefits under the NFSA. The NFSA grants rights to over 80 crore people to get 5 kg wheat or rice per person per month at Rs 2-3 per kg.

The Supreme Court, on October 15, 2015, had ruled that the Aadhaar scheme was purely voluntary and cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the court.