Tuesday, 21 April 2015 – 7:44am IST | Agency: dna | From the print edition
  • Children rejoice after their release from Dongri remand home on Monday Salman Ansari dna

Despite a Supreme Court ruling, theMaharashtra government has decided to make Aadhaar card submission compulsory for children enrolled in the reform homes.

SC had recently ordered the Centre and state governments not to deny any benefits to anyone who does not have Aadhar cards, issued by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). But chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said that by making Aadhaar card mandatory, the government will able to improve the facilities and services it gives to the reform homes. “And the help will properly reach the children in reform homes,” Fadnavis said. The enrolment is compulsory before the Government allots additional grants over and above Rs16 crore already earmarked in this year’s budget for the welfare of these children.

The CM said there was an urgent need to change and improve the functioning of reform homes. “We have asked people running these homes to make an Aadhaar card for every child residing with them. One thing is clear, only those who are involved in irregularities will oppose the government stand,” Fadnavis said.

“There are NGOs that have adopted the biometric system and are making Aadhaar cards for their children, in keeping with the Government’s directive,” Fadnavis said. Minors freed from child labour activities, or begging on streets, or those who stay on footpaths, are usually sent to the reform homes, which are now called care homes.

Fadnavis said the Government is in the process of setting up a deadline for these reform homes. Further grants will be provided to them once they furnish the details of children residing with them.

He said some “unscrupulous elements” were against the Government’s move. “I want to know the reasons for opposition to enrolment for Aadhaar cards. The Government wants to allocate more money for these children but unscrupulous elements have opened their own shops in the name of children care homes. We will not let them get away.” He added, “We are in the process of setting up a deadline for them. We cannot let the children residing there go hungry but at the same time we have to ensure the money we allocate is put to right use.”

An official from the Women and Child Welfare Department said there are 1,108 reform homes across 358 talukas of Maharashtra. “According to Government figures, about 92,000 children reside in reform homes, of which 39,000 have Aadhaar cards,” he said.

The Government used to give aid of Rs950 per child, of which Rs650 had to be spent on their food. The rest was to be spent on clothing and books, among other needs. “In the last three months, the Government has increased the aid to Rs 1,200 per child. Despite this, we are getting requests for further increase in the aid money,” he said.

A senior government official told dna that “We cannot go against the SC guidelines otherwise it will be contempt of court. But because it is the chief minister’s order, we have no option but to adhere to it even though it is in violation of the SC guidelines,” he added, requesting anonymity.