Aadhaar number is now essential for benefiting from supplementary nutrition program

The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has stated that an Aadhaar number is essential to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Scheme under the Integrated Child Development Scheme. Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said digitizing the program will help the government identify beneficiaries.

To ensure that no child is deprived of additional nutrition due to lack of Aadhaar number, a mother’s Aadhaar card can be accessed to avail its benefits. Out of 11,47,12,650 children under 5, 3,16,70,612 children received Aadhaar numbers till June 30.

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Binoy Viswam, a Communist Party member from Kerala Rajya Sabha state, raised questions against the program. “What is the need to link Aadhaar card for supplementary nutrition program? Does the ministry know that 70% of children in the country cannot be registered as beneficiaries due to this practice? What is the number of children from under 6 who have an Aadhaar card? How many fake users have been detected so far in 2018?” he asked.

In response, Irani wrote to the Rajya Sabha: “The supplementary nutrition program offered at the Anganwadi centers covers the running expenses of the Consolidated Fund of India. Therefore, in accordance with the provisions of Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act of 2016, the Ministry has notified the Supplementary Nutrition Scheme. Digitizing the plan will help the department identify beneficiaries.

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A supplemental nutrition program is implemented to fill the gap between the recommended nutrient intake and the average daily intake for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. It is one of the six services of the Integrated Child Development Program and has been converted into a right under the National Food Security Act.

All children under the age of 6, pregnant women and nursing mothers are eligible for services. There is no criterion that only people living below the poverty line should be enrolled as beneficiaries under the integrated child development program. The scheme is common to all categories of beneficiaries.

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