Students in Bengaluru have been ‘insisted’ to submit their Aadhaar card details and for those who don’t have an Aadhaar card have been asked to get one.
Why is it necessary? Because if only they submit their Aadhar details, they will be considered for a school trip. Also, Aadhaar number has also been made mandatory for submitting school assignments.
Though the Supreme Court ruled that Aadhaar should not be made mandatory to get government subsidies, headmasters of several schools have told students without Aadhaar to mandatorily register for it.
According to sources, the Education Department has been ‘pushing’ students to give their Aadhaar number to link the details to its database.
“For students who do not have Aadhaar, the department plans to facilitate setting up of camps in schools to ensure that the students are enrolled,” said P.C. Jaffer, State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
The move comes after the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) directive asking officials of the State Education Department to complete the process on a war-footing. All headmasters have been told to submit details of students who have Aadhaar by October 17.
The department wants to link students’ Aadhaar to the State government’s ambitious ‘Hejje Gurutu’ project to provide a 17-digit code to all students from class 1 to class 10 in an effort to streamline academic performance.
As per the department’s estimate, 60.3 lakh, of the 1.01 crore students in classes one to 10 in all schools (government, aided and unaided), have said to have an Aadhaar card.
Besides enrolling students for Aadhaar, all Education Department employees, including teachers and non-teaching staff members of aided and government schools have also been asked to mandatorily provide their Aadhaar number to link it to their salary accounts.
A teacher of a north Bengaluru school said many students did not have an Aadhaar but they were being pushed to get one, following the department’s orders.
It has also reported that the MHRD has plans to make Aadhaar as a proxy roll number.
A letter by the Director of the Department of School Education and Literacy to the Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education, Karnataka, requesting the State government to implement Aadhaar among students, states:
“Enrolment of students with Aadhaar should also be done. Department (State Education) may also explore the possibility of using Aadhaar as a proxy roll number for (students) appearing in examinations.”
Meanwhile, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), asked a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court what harm can Aadhaar do when the right to privacy of an Indian citizen has become a futile notion in an era when Facebook can track every detail, thought and movement through its WhatsApp software application.
“YouTube could pick your choice of films and songs the next time you log in. There are software applications which can pinpoint your location and estimate the time it would take to reach the destination… Where is privacy here?”
The Constitution Bench was hearing a batch of petitions challenging an August 11 interim order by a three-judge Bench making Aadhaar optional for all government welfare schemes including PDS and LPG cooking gas distribution.