Rajya SabhaLok Sabha

August 22, 2017

Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien makes a Special Mention on Aadhaar being made mandatory for mid-day-meals in schools

Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien makes a Special Mention on Aadhaar being made mandatory for mid-day-meals in schools

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Sir, the recent attempts to make Aadhaar mandatory for mid-day meals in schools to eliminate proxy enrolment will, to say the least, exclude from its purview millions of children who are in utmost need of it. One of the key objectives of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme was to improve nutritional levels among children. Of the 13.16 crore children enrolled in 11.5 lakh schools across India, as many as 10.03 crore students availed of mid-day meals in 2015-16.

The Government must bear in mind the harsh reality of the state of undernourishment for children in India. Almost half the children in India under the age of five are underweight, and one in three children has stunted growth. Forcing children to enrol means subjecting them to lifelong tracking, without consent (them being minors). So this will result in a whole generation, who has been coerced into giving their biometrics to the State without having any say in the matter.

The Government has not conducted any study to determine the extent of proxy enrolments in Government schools. Thus, without any conclusive evidence of the quantum of duplicate or fake names, the Government seeks to arbitrarily force all children to enrol for Aadhaar or face starvation. It is the duty of the Government to ensure the well-being of our future generation and this call for exclusion on the basis of Aadhaar is regressive and against the ethos of our nation.