The UIDAI on Tuesday cautioned people against going for plastic or laminated Aadhaar smart cards, saying their unauthorised printing could render the QR code dysfunctional or expose personal data without an individual's consent.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) asserted that the Aadhaar letter, its cutaway portion, downloaded versions of Aadhaar on ordinary paper or mAadhaar are "perfectly valid".
A senior UIDAI official told TOI here that the plastic or laminated cards are not usable as the QR code commonly becomes dysfunctional during unauthorised printing by private vendors or at local shops.
"There is also the possibility of giving away personal details to a vendor. This could be dangerous," he said.
The nodal body also cautioned the unauthorised agencies not to collect Aadhaar information from public for printing of the cards. Collecting such information or unauthorised printing of Aadhaar card is a criminal offence under the Indian Penal Code and Aadhaar Act, 2016 and can lead to imprisonment, it said.
Several citizens had reported receipt of mails and cellphone messages from vendors on making plastic or laminated Aadhaar "smart" cards.
The authorities said the Aadhaar letter, slip or its downloaded versions on any ordinary "paper are perfectly valid" and people should not go for the so-called Aadhaar smart card. This may lead to falling to any ploy of some unscrupulous elements printing Aadhaar cards on plastic/PVC sheet and charging anywhere between Rs 50 and Rs 300, they said
In case a person loses an Aadhaar card, it can be downloaded free of cost from the website, https://eaadhaar.uidai.gov.in. The print out of the downloaded Aadhaar card, even in black and white form, is valid .
Activist Anupam Saraph said that wat illegal for the agencies to keep the data. "The UIDAI defines eKYC record as 'e-KYC data', which is the demographic information and photograph of an Aadhaar number holder. Aadhaar numbers are often submitted for various services. Such service providers keep the data with them, contrary to the Aadhaar Act that does not allow anyone to keep data beyond the purpose for which authentication is done."
Incidentally, UIDAI had last month introduced a new concept of "virtual ID" which an Aadhaar card holder can generate from its website and give for various purposes, including SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID.
The aim was bid to address privacy concerns. The facility would give the users the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication.