Just a day after the centre said that Aadhaar will be mandatory to avail of the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), the government has reversed its stand to say that Aadhaar is "preferable, but "not a must" to benefit of what will be the world's largest medical aid scheme. The government initially put up a detailed notification announcing the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar, and pulled it down the next day stating that Aadhaar is in fact, not mandatory for NHPS. Union Health Minister J P Nadda confirmed that “we will provide services to all eligible beneficiaries with or without Aadhaar cards.” Alternative government-issued IDs such as Ration Card, Voter ID Card, MGNREGA Card, can be produced, in case the beneficiary does not have an Aadhaar. According to circular, implementation agencies will be accountable for setting up Aadhaar enrollment centres for those who without an Aadhaar. What did the government say earlier? Announced in the Union Budget 2018-19, the NHPS will give an annual cover of Rs. 5 lakh to each family belonging to socially vulnerable section. On July 11, the central government issued a notification announcing that since the funds for NHPS flow from the Consolidated Fund of India, it falls under the purview of the Aadhaar Act, 2016. “A beneficiary eligible for receiving the benefits under the scheme shall be required to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication. Any beneficiary desirous of availing the benefits under the scheme, who is not yet enrolled for…
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