The Karnataka education department, in a major data breach, leaked the Aadhaar details of 5,000 meritorious students who recently received the national means-cum-merit scholarship (NMMS).
The students, who received the scholarship, belong to class 8 and predominantly from government schools. The Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT) released the students' names, caste and mobile numbers on their website.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in Bengaluru was soon alerted after the data breach and pulled out the details from the page.
"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," Ashok Lenin, UIDAI deputy director in Bengaluru, told The Times of India.
One of the reasons for the data leak could be that the students' achievement tracking system is linked with their Aadhaar numbers and hence the numbers could have showed up on the website.
The NMMS is a scholarship grant for students from government and aided schools. They receive Rs 12,000 annually for five years and Rs 1,000 is sent to their bank accounts every month.
"After queries were raised by TOI, senior authorities instructed the staff to remove the data," officials part of the education department were quoted as saying.