New Delhi: Dismissing reports of misuse of biometrics data, the government on Sunday said Aadhaar-based authentication is “fully safe and secure”.

Moreover, subsidy transfers linked to Aadhaar has led the exchequer to save Rs49,000 crore, or Rs490 billion (Dh26 billion), in the past two-and-half years.

According to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), there has been no incident of misuse of Aadhaar biometrics leading to identity theft and financial loss when more than 4 billion Aadhaar-authenticated transactions took place in the last five years, it said.

UIDAI added: “Aadhaar-based authentication is robust and secure as compared to any other contemporary systems. Aadhaar system has the capability to inquire into any instance of misuse of biometrics and identity theft and initiate action.”

With reference to an incident of misuse of biometrics reported in a newspaper, UIDAI said that it is an isolated case of an employee working with a bank’s business correspondent’s company, and making an attempt to misuse his own biometrics which was detected by UIDAI internal security system and subsequently actions under the Aadhaar Act were initiated.

Responding to media reports, UIDAI said that regulations under the Aadhaar Act strictly regulate the uploading and functioning of data, including data sharing, in the case of companies that want to use Aadhaar information.

UIDAI added Aadhaar is an important tool of good governance and empowerment of people and has helped more than 44.7 million people open bank accounts through Aadhaar e-KYC.

It has enabled the government to do Direct Benefit Transfers under various schemes including LPG subsidy and has helped the exchequer save over Rs490 billion.

The Aadhaar-based Public Distributions System is benefiting people by ensuring that their food grain entitlements are given only to the deserving beneficiaries and are not cornered by unscrupulous and corrupt elements, it said.

With reference to reports that there are no extant regulations available to prevent storage and misuse of e-KYC data, while citing instances like using the image of a person’s iris using a high resolution photograph, UIDAI said that there are stringent provisions in the Aadhaar (Authentication) Regulations governing the usage of e-KYC data including storage and sharing, resident consent being paramount in both the cases.

Any unauthorised capture of an iris or fingerprints or storage or replay of biometrics or their misuse is a criminal offence under the Aadhaar Act, it said.