The government on Friday clarified in the Rajya Sabha that the Aadhaar card is not mandatory to avail of subsidies under government schemes, including on domestic cooking gas.
"Aadhar card is not mandatory for availing subsidies. If any public sector undertaking is doing it, we will correct it," Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said.
He was responding to members' concerns that despite giving an assurance that the card was not a must for availing of services like opening bank accounts, admission in school and obtaining passport, some public sector undertakings were forcing the people to do so.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, MP Achuthan (CPI-M) said that in Kerala, public sector oil companies had made it mandatory for people to get Aadhar-linked bank accounts for getting subsidy on LPG.
Achuthan questioned that when the government had already made it clear that the card was not mandatory for availing subsidies, "who gave power to public sector oil companies to ask for Aadhar-linked bank accounts" for providing subsidies.
He lamented that there are thousands of people who could not get the card despite registration.
Several members from CPI, CPI-M, BJP and other parties associated themselves with the demand that non-availability of Aadhar numbers should not be made an excuse to deny subsidy and benefits to people under various schemes.