UGC, in a major course correction and in a major relief to the student community has clarified that it will not now be mandatory for students to submit Aadhhar Number / Card for availing Scholarship / Fellowship under various Government Schemes.
Earlier, UGC following the instructions of MHRD had issued a Notice on 29.06.2016 that from the financial year 2016-17 onwards the Aadhaar has been mandatory for disbursement of all Government subsidies /Scholarships / Fellowships which are to be disbursed directly into the beneficiaries’ account.
It also requested the students that that in case some of the beneficiaries do not have Aadhaar Cards they should get themselves enrolled immediately and obtain Aadhaar Card to prevent any hardship to the fellows/scholars and to allow seamless flow of the scholarships/fellowships to the beneficiaries.
This Notice was followed up with another reminder on 20.07.2016 and UGC again cautioned that Aadhaar will be used as an identifier for availing benefits of the UGC scholarship/fellowship schemes. It also requested the applicants to provide their Aadhaar number while applying for any UGC fellowship/scholarship schemes.
In response to several complaints and difficulties faced by a large number of students, UGC in clarification of earlier letters dated 29.06.20.16 and 20.07.2016, it is hereby clarified that any student who have applied or wishing to apply for scholarship/fellowship shall not be denied benefit thereof due to non availability of Aadhaar No./Card. In such an eventuality, the applicant wourd have to provide an alternate means of verification of identity and concerned bank account to the satisfaction of the competent authority.
The earlier direction of UGC to make Aadhaar Card for availing Scholarship / Fellowship benefit was contemptuous as it was violation of the order of the Supreme Court which restricted mandatory provision of Aadhaar Card only for certain government schemes. It seems wisdom has prevailed though off late on the regulator and it has made amends.
Having said that it will be beneficial for governance and implementation that student scholars and fellows should get them enrolled and be part of Direct Transfer of Benefit Scheme. Reasons have their own equity but such equity should be allowed for infinity and all the stakeholders should at the earliest join the uniform path / mainstream.