UIDAI probing several cases of misuse of personal data
"UIDAI has received six complaints regarding errors or complaints regarding use of address documents. Four were received on UIDAI helpline on May 7, 13, 23, 2011 and March 9, 2012 and two by emails on February 27, 2012 and August 10, 2011. The complaints were forwarded to respective authorities," it said in reply to an RTI query.
Out of these, four were sent to concerned authorities in Delhi and one each to registrars in Maharashtra and Karnataka. It said that UIDAI had also received "one complaint of alleged duplication of Aadhaar card. Since it is related to some other residents, it cannot be shared".
The complaints cite the possibility of vulnerability in collection of individual data for the country`s ambitious programme.
UIDAI said it had framed information security policy and other guidelines to ensure safety of individual data being collected in the form of security handbook.
The guidelines were framed for authentication of user agencies, data centre service providers, logistic service providers, registrars, UIDAI employees and for enrolment agencies. It has, however, received "nil complaints of fake Aadhaar numbers or cards".
UIDAI is mandated to issue every citizen a 12-digit unique identification number linked to the resident`s demographic and biometric information, which they can use to identify themselves anywhere in India, and to access a host of benefits and services.
The authority, which was set up in January 28, 2009, is facing a manpower crunch as about 45 per cent of its total sanctioned strength of 383 are lying vacant. "The total sanctioned strength of UIDAI is 383, out of this 204 officers or staff are in place. Appointment for remaining vacancies is in progress," the reply said.
Vacancies exists almost at all the levels including the post of additional directors general, deputy directors, section officers, office assistants and other supporting staff at both its headquarters in Delhi and regional offices.
It said UIDAI had received many suggestions from residents, advocates, associations on addition of other fields for infants, linking Aadhaar with bank accounts, making Aadhaar mandatory, etc and carried out deliberations in this regard with all relevant stakeholders, including Planning Commission, Registrar General of India, Election Commission of India, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Urban Development and various state governments.
"So far as linking of Aadhaar is concerned, various state governments like Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand have already linked Aadhaar with various schemes of their state. Department of Telecommunications have recognised Aadhaar as proof of address. Ministry of Finance has also recognised Aadhaar as proof of address for opening of bank account," it said.
According to the reply, the authority was defending two legal cases in courts on suggestion or concern of the UIDAI project. "Since the information is voluminous it is not possible too provide the same," it added.
The UIDAI, which acts as an attached office of the Planning Commission, has issued over one crore Aadhaar numbers till date. The reply said that government had made budget estimates of Rs 1,300 crore for UIDAI during 2012-13. The authority has received Rs 120 crore during 2009-10, Rs 1,900 in 2010-11 and Rs 1,470 crore during 2011-12.