Maharashtra’s Women and Child Development department has made Aadhaar “necessary” for children and pregnant and lactating women to access the state’s nutrition schemes, The Indian Express reported on Thursday, quoting a notification issued by the department on April 6.

“If a beneficiary is found with no registered Aadhaar number or has not followed the procedure to apply for Aadhaar, and continues to avail the scheme, the child development project officer will be held responsible,” the notification said. It said the notification was based on the Centre’s directions issued on February 6.

The department’s notification also laid down procedures that workers at anganwadis, which provide these free meals and nutrition supplements, should follow while registering beneficiaries. It said the children enrolled in anganwadis for nutritional supplements should register their Aadhaar numbers and that of their parents. If a child has no Aadhaar, district officials will have to help them get it, the notification said.

More than five lakh pregnant and lactating mothers, and over 61 lakh children less than six years are enrolled in 97,287 anganwadis for meals and supplements, the report said. The new rule will apply to a number of schemes meant to help these children and women.