Karnataka education department puts Aadhaar details of 5,000 scholars online | Bengaluru News

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BENGALURU: In a major data leak, the state education department put out on its website the Aadhaar numbers of 5,375 meritorious students who bagged the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship (NMMS) in March 2019.

The Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT), a wing of the education department, also put out the mobile numbers and caste details of all students from the state chosen for the central government scholarship. It provides Rs 12,000 annually for five years to class 8 students from aided and government schools who qualify for the NMMS entrance exam.

Sources in the education department told TOI that Aadhaar details of the students are linked to the Student Achievement Tracking System and hence the data showed up on one PDF page. A scholarship fund of Rs 1,000 goes every month to the bank account of deserving students. “We had no clue that these crucial data would be out in public,” rued teachers, who prepared students for the exam.

When TOI alerted Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) officials in the regional office in Bengaluru, the authorities first said a communication would be sent to the education department to remove the data. TOI also shared the downloaded files having the Aadhaar numbers with UIDAI. Around 5pm, the Aadhaar numbers and the mobile numbers were removed by the department. However, the caste details continued to remain online.

“A team from Bengaluru constantly checks if any website or domain has Aadhaar data. This was not known to us. Currently, no Aadhaar numbers are displayed on the education department website. However, we will advise the office concerned to be more diligent in future publications,” said Ashok Lenin, deputy director, UIDAI, regional office, Bengaluru.

“After queries were raised by TOI, senior authorities instructed the staff to remove the data,” confirmed officers in the education department.

SR Umashankar, principal secretary, primary and secondary education department, said he will look into the matter, while HN Gopalakrishna, director, DSERT did not respond to calls and text messages.



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