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The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, through its Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, has issued a significant notification regarding the integration of Aadhaar for the delivery of scholarships to students with disabilities. This measure aims to enhance transparency, efficiency, and accessibility in disbursing benefits under various scholarship schemes. Let’s delve deeper into the details and implications of this notification.

Detailed Analysis:

1. Rationale for Aadhaar Integration:

  • The use of Aadhaar as an identity document is touted for simplifying government delivery processes, enhancing transparency, and ensuring efficient distribution of entitlements.
  • This integration is particularly crucial for students with disabilities, who often face numerous barriers in accessing education and financial support.

2. Components of Scholarship Schemes:

  • The notification outlines six components of the scholarship schemes aimed at supporting students with disabilities in pursuing their education.
  • These schemes encompass pre-matric, post-matric, top-class education, overseas scholarships, national fellowships, and free coaching initiatives.

3. Mandatory Aadhaar Requirement:

  • Individuals eligible for these benefits must possess an Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication.
  • Those without an Aadhaar number are required to enroll for Aadhaar before registering for the scheme, ensuring compliance with the Aadhaar Act.

4. Provisions for Aadhaar Enrollment:

  • The notification mandates the provision of Aadhaar enrollment facilities by the implementing agencies for eligible beneficiaries.
  • Temporary measures are in place to ensure benefits are provided to individuals awaiting Aadhaar issuance, with alternative document verification processes.

5. Remedial Mechanisms for Authentication Failures:

  • Various remedial mechanisms, including iris scan, face authentication, and alternative authentication methods, are outlined to address Aadhaar authentication failures.
  • These mechanisms aim to ensure seamless delivery of benefits to deserving beneficiaries.

6. Exception Handling Mechanism:

  • An exception handling mechanism is established to prevent the deprivation of benefits to genuine beneficiaries, aligning with the Direct Benefit Transfer Mission’s objectives.

Conclusion:

The Ministry’s notification underscores its commitment to enhancing inclusivity and accessibility for individuals with disabilities by leveraging Aadhaar integration. By streamlining the process of delivering scholarships and ensuring effective authentication mechanisms, the government aims to empower students with disabilities to pursue their educational aspirations and integrate into society more effectively. This proactive step is poised to foster greater equity and dignity for individuals with disabilities across the nation.

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MINISTRY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EMPOWERMENT
(Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan)
NOTIFICATION
New Delhi, the 29th February, 2024

S.O. 1271(E).—Whereas, the use of Aadhaar as an identity document for delivery of services or benefits or subsidies simplifies the Government delivery processes, brings in transparency and efficiency, and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly in a convenient and seamless manner by obviating the need to produce multiple documents to prove one’s identity;

And whereas, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (hereinafter referred to as the Department), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in the Government of India, is administering Central Sector Umbrella Scheme for Scholarships for Students with Disabilities with the following six components (hereinafter referred to as the Schemes) to provide financial assistance to the students with disabilities to support them study further in order to prepare themselves to earn their livelihood and to find a dignified place for themselves in the society as they face several barriers physical, financial, psychological, mental in pursuing studies and living with dignity, which is being implemented through the following Implementing Agencies (hereinafter referred to as the Implementing Agency(ies)):-

Sl. No

Component of the Scheme Implement Agency(ies)
1 Pre-Matric Scholarship for Students with Disabilities National Scholarship Portal (NSP)
2 Post-matric Scholarship for Students with Disabilities
3 Scholarship for Top Class Education for Students with Disabilities
4 National Overseas Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD)
5 National Fellowship for Persons with Disabilities Canara Bank Portal
6 Free Coaching for Students with Disabilities (i) Empanelled Central University/Institutes under Free Coaching Scheme of Department of Social Justice and Empowerment implemented by Dr. Ambedkar Foundation (DAF) under M/o Social Justice and Empowerment.

(ii) National Institutes / Composite Regional Centers under the administrative control of Department.

And whereas, under the Schemes, cash benefits namely scholarship amount, Book and Ad-hoc Grant, disability-specific allowances like Reader allowance, Transport allowance, Escort allowance, Maintenance allowance, Special allowance, Fellowship amount, Contingency grant, House Rent allowance, Incidental Journey allowance, Equipment allowance, Tuition Fees, Cost of Air Passage, Poll Tax, Visa Fees, Medical Insurance Premium, Local travel, Stipend, Coaching Fee (whichever are applicable as per norms of the said scholarship Schemes) (hereinafter referred to as benefits) is given to the Students with Disabilities (hereinafter referred to as the beneficiaries) as per the extant Scheme guidelines;

And whereas, the Scheme involves recurring expenditure incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India;

And whereas, this Department had earlier notified Aadhar as an identity document for Scholarship Schemes for Students with Disabilities vide Notification No. 17-22(2)/2016-Sch. dated 3rd March, 2017;

Now, therefore, in supersession of Notification No. S.O. 728 (E) dated 3rd March, 2017 [F. No. 17-22(2)/2016-Sch.] and in pursuance of section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (18 of 2016) (hereinafter referred to as the said Act), the Central Government hereby notifies, the following, namely:-

1. (a) an individual eligible for receiving the benefits under the Scheme shall hereby be required to furnish proof of possession of the Aadhaar number or undergo Aadhaar authentication;

(b) any individual desirous of availing benefits under the Scheme, who does not possess the Aadhaar number or, has not yet enrolled for Aadhaar, shall be required to make application for Aadhaar enrolment before registering for the Scheme provided that he is entitled to obtain Aadhaar as per section 3 of the said Act, and such individual shall visit any Aadhaar enrolment centre (list available at the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) website uidai.gov.in) to get enrolled for Aadhaar;

(c) as per the regulation 12 of the Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations, 2016, the Department through its Implementing Agency, is required to offer Aadhaar enrolment facilities for the beneficiaries who are not yet enrolled for Aadhaar and in case there is no Aadhaar enrolment centre located in the respective Block or Taluka or Tehsil, the Department through its Implementing Agency shall provide Aadhaar enrolment facilities at convenient locations in coordination with the existing Registrars of Unique Identification Authority of India or by becoming a Unique Identification Authority of India Registrar themselves:

Provided that till the time Aadhaar is assigned to the individual, benefits under the Scheme shall be given to such individual, subject to the production of the following documents, namely :–

(a) if he has enrolled, his Aadhaar Enrolment Identification slip; and

(b) any one of the following documents, namely :-

(i) Bank or Post office Passbook with Photo; or

(ii) Permanent Account Number (PAN) Card; or

(iii) Passport; or

(iv) Ration Card; or

(v) Voter Identity Card; or

(vi) MGNREGA card; or

(vii) Kisan Photo passbook; or

(viii) Driving license issued by the Licensing Authority under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (59 of 1988); or

(ix) Certificate of identity having photo of such person issued by a Gazetted Officer or a Tehsildar on an official letter head; or

(x) any other document as specified by the Department:

Provided, further that the above documents may be checked by an officer specifically designated by the Department for that purpose.

2. In order to provide benefits to the beneficiaries under the Scheme conveniently, the Department through its Implementing Agency shall make all the required arrangements to ensure that wide publicity through the media shall be given to the beneficiaries to make them aware of the requirement of Aadhaar under the Scheme.

3. In all cases, where Aadhaar authentication fails due to poor biometrics of the beneficiaries or due to any other reason, the following remedial mechanisms shall be adopted, namely:-

(a) in case of poor fingerprint quality, iris scan or face authentication facility shall be adopted for authentication, and the Department through its Implementing Agency shall make provisions for iris scanners or face authentication along with finger-print authentication for delivery of benefits in seamless manner;

(b) in case the biometric authentication through fingerprints or iris scan or face authentication is not successful, wherever feasible and admissible authentication by Aadhaar One Time Password or Time-based One-Time Password with limited time validity, as the case may be, shall be offered;

(c) in all other cases where biometric or Aadhaar One Time Password or Time-based One-Time Password authentication is not possible, benefits under the Scheme may be given on the basis of physical Aadhaar letter whose authenticity can be verified through the Quick Response (QR) code printed on the Aadhaar letter and the necessary arrangement of QR code reader shall be provided at convenient locations by the Department through its Implementing Agency.

4. In order to ensure that no bonafide beneficiary under the Scheme is deprived of his due benefits, the Department through its Implementing Agency shall follow the exception handling mechanism as specified in the Office Memorandum of Direct Benefit Transfer Mission, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India No. D-26011/04/2017-DBT, dated the 19th December 2017 (available on https://dbtbharat.gov.in/).

5. This notification shall come into effect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette in all the States and Union territories.

[F. No. P-13013/24/2023-UDID/IT/STATISTICS]
RAJEEV SHARMA, Jt. Secy.

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