Hyderabad: In the wake of allegations of leakage of Aadhaar details, the Central government has instructed all state governments not to publish the Aadhaar number, or any other personal information of individuals, in the public domain or website.
On the directions of the Centre, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chief executive officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey has written a letter to the Telangana state government to this effect.
All departments of all state governments collect and use Aadhaar information of residents for delivery of subsidies, benefits, services to their beneficiaries in accordance with the Aadhaar Act 2016.
The Centre and UIDAI have alerted the state government about Aadhaar’s data security after cricketer M.S. Dhoni’s application for enrollment, which had his personal details posted on Twitter.
The letter to chief secretaries from UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said: “Ref: The recent newspaper reports about publishing of personal data of beneficiaries containing Aadhaar number, bank account details by some state departments / organisations in the public domain, on their websites. As per sections 29 (2) , 29 (3) and 29 (4) of Aadhaar Act publishing of Aadhaar nu-mber or other demographic information is not allowed and such action co-nstitutes an offence under section 37, 40 and 41 which is punishable with imprisonment up to 3 years.”
The letter said the ministry of electronics and IT has issued orders on March 25 directing all stake holders not to publish Aadhaar number, or any other personal data in the public domain.
Sensitise all departments, UIDAI tells Telangana
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chief executive officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey said that state governments must sensitise all departments, organisations in the state who are using Aadhaar for their schemes and programmes, about their responsibility to protect personal data of beneficiaries, and remove any such personal data from the public domain.
The circular said adequate mechanisms must be put in place to ensure Aadhaar data is not in the public domain.
Accordingly on the directions of the TS Chief Secretary SP Singh Principal Secretary of Information Technology, Electronic and Communication department Jayesh Ranjan issued a circular to all departments along with a copy of the central government’s circular.
The Aadhaar card contains name of the person, address and his or her photograph, date of birth, signature of the card holder and Aadhaar number. It also contains contact number of card holder.
Aadhaar is valid throughout the country and enables availing of government and non-government services. The Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the compulsory requirement of Aadhaar.
The officials said that no harm could be caused to people even if the Aadhaar data is out as it contains an individual’s personal details only.