The Center refuted on Thursday media reports that Aadhaar was mandatory for beneficiaries under its Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme. Biometric identification is “desirable”, not mandatory, to take advantage of the benefits of the plan, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Earlier, a media report had said that beneficiaries without an Aadhaar card must provide proof that they have requested one. The report had cited an alleged notice issued by the ministry on July 4.
The government said it was a draft notification and that it “simply allows the implementing agencies to request the beneficiary’s Aadhaar card to authenticate their identity.” The use of the Aadhaar card for this purpose is preferable, but “it is not mandatory,” the government said.
“There will be no denial of benefit for lack of Aadhaar number,” the ministry said.
The union’s health minister, JP Nadda, said the government will provide services to “all eligible beneficiaries with or without Aadhaar cards.”
The draft notification also provides other identification mechanisms such as the ration card and the voter identification card for those who do not have an Aadhaar number.
“In addition, it also makes the implementing agencies responsible for the creation of the Aadhaar registration centers for beneficiaries who are not yet enrolled in convenient locations,” the government said.
The health plan plans to provide insurance coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year to more than 10 million poor families for hospitalization of secondary and tertiary care.