59 lakh school students in Maharashtra may lose out on availing services such as mid-day meals, and free uniforms and books due to issues related to their Aadhaar data, according to a report by the Hindustan Times. Of these, over 19 lakh students in the state do not have an Aadhaar card, the report states, based on insights provided by the state education department on the student registration data collated by the Systematic Administrative Reforms for Achieving and Learning by Students (SARAL) “for the government, aided and non-aided schools” in the state. Further, according to a report by the Indian Express, of the 2,33,13,762 students enrolled in government and aided schools across Maharashtra, 19,55,515 do not have Aadhaar cards and the enrolment of over 40 lakh of them is considered invalid. A senior official from the state education department has raised concerns over the magnitude of the problem given its impact on the students’ access to basic education facilities, which require mandatory registration of Aadhaar data on the SARAL portal. “Aadhaar card is now mandatory for availing benefits like midday meal, text books, school uniforms and many more. From January 2023, students, who are registered on the portal with Aadhaar card can avail [the] midday meal scheme. During the verification of the data, we found that close to 19.5 lakh students do not have an Aadhaar card, while 40 lakh have errors in their personal details,” the official said to the Hindustan Times. Why it matters: The development in Maharashtra…
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