SHOCKING: Despite Dhoni leak, Jharkhand Government publishes Aadhaar, bank A/c details of thousands of citizens
Worse, even the social grouping – caste and tribal affiliation – of thousands of beneficiaries is also mentioned on this website.
Published: 23rd April 2017 12:53 AM | Last Updated: 23rd April 2017 01:45 AM | A+A A-
PATNA: When cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Aadhaar details were leaked last month, there was nationwide outrage, with questions asked about the safety of citizens’ personal information. The Jharkhand government has taken things a step further now, by uploading exhaustive personal data, including Aadhaar numbers and bank account details, caste status and welfare payouts received on its website.
The Jharkhand government’s Directorate of Social Security, a wing of the Department of Women, Child Development and Social Security, put on its website elaborate information about thousands of people who received benefits of various social security schemes.
Not only the beneficiaries’ Aadhaar numbers, their bank account numbers, the bank branches where these accounts are held were published on the website of the government’s social security department. Worse, the social grouping – caste and tribal affiliation – of thousands of beneficiaries is also mentioned on this website.
As per the details uploaded on the website about Bermo block of Dhanbad district with updated status up to 11.01 pm on April 21, a typical list of a beneficiary’s details goes like this: Gunjari Devi, age 48, widow of Gopal Yadav, received benefits under State Social Security Old Age Pension Scheme (SSSOAPS) in her bank account (Number 48111******297) at Bank of India’s Bokaro Thermal Power Station branch and her Aadhar number is 4**********5.
Similar details of thousands of other beneficiaries of social security schemes such as the Aadim JanJati Pension Yojna (AJJPY), Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS) were put up on the website. Both Jharkhand's social welfare minister Louis Marandi and department secretary Mukhmeet Singh Bhatia were contacted several times for their response on the issue, but they did not pick up the phone calls.
Curiously, after these calls were made, the relevant pages of the website were downed at 11.30 pm Saturday and a password interface was inserted, covering up the breach of privacy. Social activists in the state, when told about this, expressed dismay and shock. They described it as a huge violation of citizens’ privacy and demanded that the government immediately withdraw such data from the public domain. “It is shocking that it is the government that is doing so. When only the Aadhaar number of M S Dhoni went public through a tweet, there was such a hue and cry and the agency that was responsible for the leak was blacklisted for 10 years. But here the Aadhaar numbers and other private information of ordinary citizens is being made public by a state government,” said Vandana Tete, a tribal social activist. Last month, when M S Dhoni came to enroll himself for Aadhaar in his home town of Ranchi, Jharkhand capital, the private company handling Aadhaar enrolment for the government, CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, proudly tweeted a photo of the cricketer and his Aadhaar details. His wife, Sakshi Rawat, immediately protested through a tweet, which caused a nationwide uproar. This led Union minister for Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, to tweet: “Sharing personal information is illegal. Serious action will be taken against this”. Finally, the government blacklisted for ten years the centre that leaked the Aadhaar receipt of the former skipper of the Indian cricket team.
AND THEN THE COVERUP
Before the page was downed, one could access thousands of Aadhaar numbers after using the 'Detail Report' button on the home page. Other details like Category (OB, SC et. al), father/husband's name were also visible. Even the amounts pensioners were being paid was accessible. All one had to was press the 'Search Pensioner/Know Pension Status' option on the home page. And you could choose any area in the State and enter a random name and if there was a person by that name drawing a pension, those details could be visible. After 11.30 pm Saturday night, the buttons which revealed the Aadhar data all returned dead links. Strangely enough, the 'pension...' button on the home page now is asking for a 'user id' and 'password' along with a captcha code before it allows you to access details.