All state governments have been asked to link the Aadhaar unique identity number with caste and domicile certificates to be issued to school students, as part of a first-of-its-kind initiative by the Centre.
The states have been told to ensure that such certificates are issued within 60 days to the students when they are studying in Class V or VIII.
The development assumes significance as there have been complaints of delay in grant of scholarship to students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Besides, people have often complained of harassment by government officials in getting caste and domicile certificates issued.
''The state government may also try to get the information of students fed into the meta data to be made online and may link it to Aadhaar enabled data, if feasible. Sincere efforts be made to issue these certificates along with Aadhaar number,'' reads the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) released by the union personnel ministry on issuance of caste and certificates in schools.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) issues Aadhaar - a 12-digit number which acts as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in the country. The main objective of issuance of caste or tribe certificate is to facilitate access of bona-fide candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to the reserved posts and services under the State or Central governments and secure admission in educational institutions and get other facilities.
''The revenue or State government authorities concerned would scrutinise or verify the documents and issue the relevant certificates preferably within 30-60 days,'' it said.
The responsibility for issuance of residency and caste certificates rests with the States and Union Territories.
To avoid difficulties faced by SC and ST students, it has been proposed that 'caste or tribe certificate' and also the domicile certificate may be issued to such students and only a residence certificate may be issued to students other than SC or ST all over the country, while they are studying in Class V or VIII, as part of an annual exercise.
The state government can choose either Class V or Class VIII to issue this certificate. Once Class V or VIII is chosen, the endeavour should be to issue it to all the students in that particular class, the FAQs said.
The responsibility of collecting the documents from the students will be of school head or principal.
Once the certificate is made, it may be given to the students in cellophane cover, as far as practicable, though the school authorities and would be kept with the students for safe custody for availing the benefits or concessions and facilities available to the category of students concerned, the FAQs said.