Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said that an FIR filed following a media report on Aadhaar data breach was not against the journalist, as the Congress and Biju Janata Dal questioned why Aadhaar was being made into a "coercive tool".Prasad said the Aadhaar data is "safe".In the Question Hour on Wednesday, Congress MP Ninong Ering mentioned a report in The Tribune daily, and questioned why the government instead of securing the Aadhaar data had become defensive and filed an FIR."It is not a case of data breach. A grievance redressal agency had leaked a password. No journalist was named in the FIR, the journalist should cooperate with the police to find the culprit," Prasad said."The data with UIDAI is safe," he said.
The Minister said the government is open to suggestions on improving the Aadhaar, and added that it was a law passed by Parliament."There is a law passed by the Parliament, anyone who misuses the Aadhaar data will be sent to jail and there is provision for fine," he said.To this, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Tathagata Satpathy questioned if the Minister was threatening to send citizens of the country to jail.Prasad however said the provisions for jail term and fine are a part of the law passed by Parliament.Sathpathy questioned why Aadhaar was being made a "coercive tool"."Private parties are collecting Aadhaar data... Why should private parties be allowed to collect Aadhaar data if it is meant for benefits transfer," he said.The Minister said there are 120 crore Aadhaar cards, and the total number of bank accounts linked with Aadhaar is 57.62 crore."We have to ask ourselves if 120 crore are having Aadhaar, it is a proof that majority of people are trusting the mechanism. Public money is being saved," he said."Today Aadhaar is being appreciated by the World Bank, by the IMF. It is a very low-cost technology of India," he added.