Thousands of students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are worried about losing scholarship this year as they have not been able to give consent for Aadhaar seeding before the February 15-deadline as demanded by the Social Welfare Department to implement direct benefit transfer.
The issue is that many of the rural students did not have a mobile phone, which is mandatory to complete the process of seeding, during enrolment for Aadhaar or still do not have one. The students eligible for scholarship have to give consent for seeding by logging on to the department’s website using their scholarship application login ID. They have to enter their Aadhaar number and during the process, an OTP (one-time password) is sent to the mobile number they entered while enrolling for Aadhaar card. The hitch is that many students enrolled for Aadhaar sometime ago and as most of the rural students did not own a cellphone, they gave their relatives’ number. “I gave my uncle’s number for enrolment. He now has a different number. But the system sends the OTP to the old number. How will I get the OTP?” asked Manjula K.M., a BSc. student in Hassan. She is hoping for a deadline extension.
Some students had given numbers of neighbours, shopkeepers, and friends — who have gone to different places over the years. “I gave the number of a shopkeeper in the neighbourhood at the time of enrolling for Aadhaar. The shopkeeper is no longer in our area,” said Dayanand, another student.
The offices of Social Welfare Department are flooded with complaints about inability to give consent within the deadline. “We have brought the complaints to the notice of senior officers in the department. Students are demanding more time to give consent for Aadhaar seeding in view of these problems,” said N.R. Purushottam, Deputy Director of Social Welfare Department.