Punjab has not remained untouched by leakage of Aadhaar data. The Aadhaar details of thousands of beneficiaries under the scholarship schemes for meritorious students have been put on the official website of the department of welfare of scheduled castes, backward classes and minority.
The lists of students under the merit-cum-means based scholarship scheme and post matric scholarship scheme for 2014-15, which are available on the website, contain all details, including the student id, institution name, Aadhaar number, bank name and address, bank account number and IFSC code, of the beneficiary students under the two schemes.
The data breach is a contravention of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) guidelines that restrain the institutions from disclosing Aadhaar details of individuals online.
However, minister for welfare of SCs and BCs Sadhu Singh Dharamsot said the data was probably put on the department’s website during the tenure of the previous government. “I do not see anything wrong in putting details of those getting financial benefits under the scholarship scheme, Shagan scheme and other welfare programmes. There needs to be transparency and misuse of public funds cannot be allowed,” he told HT. When contacted, R Venkat Ratnam, principal secretary, welfare of SCs and BCs, said, “Applications are processed online. If any information has been put in public domain, I will look into it,” he said.