New Delhi, Mar 5: The Congress today criticised the NDA government's move to link midday meal scheme benefits with Aadhaar card, saying the decision should not be "forced" on children.
The Human Resource Development ministry had announced that cook-cum-helpers working under the midday meal scheme as well as student beneficiaries will now be required to have an Aadhaar card to avail the facility.
"The government should not deprive the children of the benefits of the scheme by making the Aadhaar card mandatory for availing its benefits. We demand that it should not be forced on them," AICC secretary Bhakta Charan Das said at a media briefing here.
Midday meal scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme to boost the universalisation of primary education by increasing enrolment, retention and attendance in primary and upper primary classes.
Das claimed that there are some 12 crore children enrolled countrywide under the scheme and that there right to have nutritious food in adequate quantities should not be "taken away".
As per guidelines, cooked meals are to be provided with 450 and 700 calories and 12 gm and 20 gm protein contents for primary and upper primary schoolchildren, respectively.