The move to register all school children under the Aadhaar has helped the Human Resource Development Ministry unearth and eliminate 4.4 lakh ‘ghost students’ from schools in Jharkhand, Manipur and Andhra Pradesh, reported Hindustan Times.
Data from 2015-16 and 2016-17 from the three states provided to the HRD ministry revealed that several government schools in the states have been showing ‘ghost students’ or non-existent students on their rolls, in order to acquire more funds from the government's allocation.
In Andhra Pradesh, for example, 2.1 lakh claimants exist only on paper, while Manipur has about 1,500 ‘ghost students’
While most states share the financial burden of the scheme with the state at a 40:60 ratio, the ratio for northeastern states is 90:10, with the Centre chipping in for most of the funds.
We are still in the process of collating data from states, but available figures show fake enrollment of students in government schools. The number of fake students may go up further once all the states share data.An HRD official told Hindustan Times
"We are yet to calculate the money saved through the elimination of fake beneficiaries," the official added.
As of now, only 30 percent of the 11 crore students between class one to eight in government schools across India have Aadhaar cards. The government aims to bring all students and teachers under the scheme by June this year.
The HRD ministry's move to make the 12-digit unique identification number mandatory for mid-day meals has come under strong scrutiny from activists.
For starters, linking Aadhaar to the mid-day meal scheme would mean the children are compelled to make a lifelong decision as the Act does not have the provisions to opt out later. Besides, there is also the popular criticism on the question of privacy and of Aadhaar accounts tracking transactions made by the account-holder.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday clarified in Parliament that "no one will be deprived of mid-day meals. Everybody will get mid-day meal and they will get Aadhaar card as well".
He said a large number of beneficiaries already have the Aadhaar card and facilities will be made to enroll the remaining students as well.