The Parliament was informed on Wednesday that about 210 websites of the central and state government departments were found to be displaying personal details and Aadhaar numbers of beneficiaries.
“UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) has taken note of the same and is regularly monitoring the status to get the Aadhaar data removed from the said websites,” Minister of State for Electronics and IT, PP Chaudhury said in a written reply in Lok Sabha, as quoted by Hindustan Times.
The number of websites also include educational institutions. This leakage of information came in the forefront as Supreme Court began hearings on the issue of the right to privacy. The leak of information included names of the list of beneficiaries along with their personal details like name, address and Aadhaar numbers for information of the general public, Chaudhury said. He further added that there has been no leak of information about Aadhaar data from the UIDAI.
According to a report by Economic Times, AB Pandey, UIDAI Chief said the authorities took notice of the issue in March. “Some ministries were publishing this data in compliance with the Right to Information Act which says that list of beneficiaries should be public so that citizens know where the government money has been sent,” he said.
Private players in this context
According to Chaudhury, private players have not acquired any Aadhaar data including biometrics and that sharing Aadhaar data is done only through authorised agencies. It is done through the use of secure applications through established protocols and procedures. The Aadhaar Act 2016 regulates the (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) sharing of Aadhaar information.
Linking PAN and Aadhaar
PP Chaudhury also said that the linking of Aadhaar number with PAN database will ensure robust de-duplication of Aadhaar as Aadhaar is based on biometric attributes of fingerprint and iris images. Linking Aadhaar with the PAN card will also ensure weeding out of duplicate PANs, Chaudhury added.
In May, researchers had found records of a soaring 3 crore Aadhaar cardholders available on just four government websites. Leaking information of Aadhaar numbers is a violation of Aadhaar Act and people can be charged under criminal offences.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) site on 28 April justified past leaks by saying, “The man in-charge of Aadhaar vouches for its safety but there is no stopping the leaks.”
The government’s inaction to safeguard crucial information and push to make Aadhaar mandatory shows a blatant disregard for the security and privacy of the citizens.
The Logical Indian urges the government to ensure that such leaks are avoided in the future to safeguard Indian citizens against misuse of vital personal information.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.