Centre confusing Northeast, nation over Aadhaar, says Mukul Sangma

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma on Thursday accused the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of creating confusion over the implementation of Aadhaar.

“…In one letter the Centre says that Aadhaar is not compulsory, but in correspondence from different central ministries they insist on Aadhaar number of the beneficiaries for centrally-sponsored schemes,” he told the assembly during the Question Hour.

“Conflicting directives are coming. Therefore, all are confused. I am equally confused,” Sangma said reiterating that he would not enrol for Aadhaar.

Stating in the assembly that enrolment for the biometric scheme was not compulsory in the state, the chief minister, however, said the state government could not completely stop Aadhaar enrolment since students pursuing their career outside Meghalaya and those availing scholarships needed it.

“If Aadhaar is not issued to such students, they will not be eligible for various entrance examinations,” he said.

Sangma said that the central government should consider not making Aadhaar mandatory in the northeastern region, which was peculiar with its issues of illegal immigrants and porous border, and the National Population Register (NPR) had also not been updated yet.

“Without it (NPR), how will we know that Aadhaar exercise does not go beyond Indian citizens? Therefore, Aadhaar should not be made mandatory in Meghalaya, otherwise it would lead to complication for a state that is dealing with the issue of illegal immigration,” he said.

Sangma said he had also spoken with his Assam counterpart on Aadhaar.

The chief minister said he would ask chief secretary Y Tshering to convene a meeting with the banking officials to seek clarity on the banks circulars “forcing” people to link their bank accounts with Aadhaar number.

He said 4,63,058 people had been assigned Aadhaar numbers in Meghalaya.

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