New Delhi: For better targeting of central subsidies, the government has made Aadhaar mandatory for a host of schemes under the agriculture ministry, from soil health card and horticulture development to the Prime Minister’s flagship crop insurance scheme launched last year.
The notifications mandating Aadhaar for availing benefits under these schemes were issued last month, simultaneous to similar orders for big ticket schemes like food subsidy and mid-day meals for school going children.
For the flagship soil health card scheme, which seeks to inform farmers about nutrient levels in their land and check imbalanced use of fertilizers, a notification mandating use of Aadhaar was issued by the ministry on 20 February.
According to the notification, farmers without an Aadhaar number have to apply for it by end of March and till that time they can avail services under by furnishing a proof of their application.
Similarly another notification was issued on 8 February requiring beneficiaries to furnish their Aadhaar numbers for availing subsidies under all six sub-schemes of the mission for integrated development of horticulture (MIDH). However, for these schemes the notification does not mention any cut off date and says farmers will continue to get benefits till the time they have an Aadhaar number.
On 8 February, the ministry issued another notification mandating the use of Aadhaar for the flagship crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). Here too, farmers can continue to avail benefits till the time they have an Aadhaar number by furnishing alternative identity documents such as employment guarantee cards or voter id cards.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) after collecting biometric data of residents. Its for availing subsidies got legislative backing in March last year after the Aadhaar Bill was passed by Lok Sabha.
Earlier this week, government said that no one would be deprived of benefits of various welfare schemes due to lack of Aadhaar. So far, more than 1.12 billion people have been enrolled under Aadhaar.