No data breach, Aadhaar transfer saved Rs 50,000 cr: UIDAI

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Sunday issued a statement denying any breach of Aadhaar data on it servers.

The UIDAI said it has not found a single incident of misuse of biometrics, leading to identity theft and financial loss, in the past seven years.

The agency said more than 4,000 million Aadhaar authentication transactions have taken place and the government has saved Rs 49,500 crore because of Aadhaar-based direct benefits transfers in the past two and a half years.

“There has been no breach to UIDAI database of Aadhaar in any manner whatsoever and personal data of individuals held by UIDAI is fully safe and secure,” the UIDAI, which was sent up in 2009 with an aim to provide a 12-digit unique identification number to all the residents after capturing their biometrics details, said in a statement. “Aadhaar-based authentication is robust and secure as compared to any other contemporary systems. Aadhaar system has the capability to inquire into any instance of misuse of biometrics and identity theft and initiate action.”

Currently, the UIDAI has biometric and demographic details of 1,110 million residents.

The incident of Aadhaar-ecosystem system coming under attack came to light after the UIDAI filed a criminal case against unknown person for allegedly storing biometrics of individuals and subsequently making unauthorised transactions. It has already issued notices to Axis Bank, its business correspondent Suvidhaa Infoserve and eMudhra, a know-your-customer user agency with the authority.

“It is an isolated case of an employee working with a bank's business correspondent's company making an attempt to misuse his own biometrics, which was detected by UIDAI internal security system and, subsequently, actions under the Aadhaar Act have been initiated,” the statement said.

The agency said it has decided to encrypt data at the point of capture to strengthen the security features of Aadhaar eco-system. It claimed that it has helped 44.7 million people to open bank accounts through Aadhaar e-KYC and enabled the government to directly transfer benefits into the accounts of beneficiaries of various schemes, including domestic cooking gas subsidy, scholarships, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, and pension disbursal. 

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