In a Public Notice issued today the UGC said that,
Aadhaar will be used as an identifier for availing benefits of the UGC scholarship/fellowship schemes
It asked applicants are requested to provide their Aadhaar number while applying for any UGC fellowship or scholarship scheme. Applicants who have already submitted the online applications for the year 2017-18 have been requested to update their application forms.
UGC secretary Jaspal S. Sandhu sent a letter to Vice-Chancellors of all universities and institutes on June 29, 2016, which said that,
Aadhaar has been made mandatory for disbursement of all government subsidies, scholarships and fellowships for the financial year 2016-2017
The issue of Aadhaar cards allows government schemes and services to access biometric data and unique identity numbers and has been controversial. Both the Congress Party led-United Progressive Alliance government, and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government have argued that Aadhaar will allow subsidies to reach beneficiaries directly, and prevent middlemen from siphoning off subsidies worth thousands of crores of rupees.
Though the news has been in controversy from many activists, academics and politicians who believe that such a bank of biometric data can be used by the government for “mass surveillance” in the name of “national security.” Speaking in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session in March, Biju Janata Dal’s Tathagata Satpathy said that he feared that the Modi government would use the data for “mass surveillance” and “ethnic cleansing.”
Following the Lok Sabha’s rejection of the amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha in the Budget Session, challenged the passage of the Aadhaar Bill as a money bill, which will come up for hearing in the Supreme Court, later this month