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Aadhaar not mandatory for accessing welfare schemes: Govt

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday said identity proofs other than Aadhaar can also be used to avail of welfare scheme benefits, a day after the Supreme Court said biometric cards cannot be made mandatory for accessing social benefits.

“…this is required to be clarified that the Supreme Court itself has permitted delivery of many pro-poor benefits by the application of Aadhaar.”

“I wish to make it very clear that Aadhaar is not mandatory for the benefits of welfare schemes. If any person does not have Aadhaar, other identity proofs from ration to driving licence can be used,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

He said the apex court itself in its interim order has instructed the government that Aadhaar can be used in delivery of many subsidy-based, pro-poor schemes such as MGNREGA, but it will not be mandatory.

The Minister said it is also clearly written in the Aadhaar Act that no eligible person will be deprived of any benefits if he or she does not have Aadhaar card.

“But at the same time as per the provision of the Aadhaar Act, attempts will be made to bring all people under its ambit,” he said.

Emphasising on the importance of Aadhaar card, Prasad said the government has been able to save Rs 50,000 crore by using it.