The deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail benefits of government schemes has been postponed to March 31, 2018, the Centre informed the Supreme Court.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that extension of the deadline would apply only to those persons who do not have Aadhaar and are willing to enrol for it. He told the court that no coercive action would be taken against those who do not have Aadhaar but were willing to enrol for it. He added that they would not be denied the benefits of social welfare schemes till March 31 next year.
The Centre had earlier extended the last date for mandatory linking of the 12-digit biometric identification number to avail social benefits to December 31, 2017 from the earlier September 30.
As many as 135 schemes (of 35 ministries) including the free cooking gas (LPG) to poor women, kerosene and fertilizer subsidy, targeted public distribution system (PDS) and MGNREGA will be covered by the extension.