The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Sunday slammed people with "vested interests" for spreading "rumours" against the Aadhaar, and reiterated that there was no harm in storing its helpline number on mobile phones.
It even suggested that people rather update its contact number.
"The UIDAI condemns the vested interests who tried to misuse Google's inadvertent act as an opportunity to spread rumours and go around fear mongering against Aadhaar... it must be clearly understood that by merely having a helpline number, that too an outdated one, on a smartphone, no harm can be caused," a UIDAI statement said.
It said that Google has already clarified that UIDAI's old contact number 18003001947 was added by it "inadvertently" along with police and fire number in 2014 and has since been continuing through sync mechanism.
"Google has expressed regret for the same and has also assured that it will fix this inadvertent error in their next release and stated that the users may, if they wish, delete the number. Rumours about Aadhaar database being breached are completely false and baseless and are rejected with all condemnation that it deserves. The UIDAI assures that the Aadhaar data remains fully safe and secure," the statement said.
The UIDAI had earlier clarified that it had not asked any agency to include its helpline number in the mobile phones.
"Rumours are being floated on social media such as Twitter and WhatsApp that this number 'mysteriously' popped up on mobile devices and will be harmful and that Aadhaar data has been 'breached etc, and therefore the helpline number should be deleted immediately'. This is totally false propaganda and is nothing but scare-mongering against Aadhaar by vested interests," it said.
"Just with the help of a helpline number in a mobile's contact list the data stored on the mobile phone cannot be stolen. Therefore, there should be no panic to delete the number as no harm will be caused. Rather people may, if they so wish, update it with UIDAI's new helpline number 1947," it added.
Advising people to stay away from such "rumours and malicious campaign by vested interests", the UIDAI said they should "not waste their and others' time by forwarding or circulating such 'false and baseless rumours' on social media."
"One must know that Aadhaar has caused tremendous benefits to our country and helped save more Rs, 90,000 crores by preventing leaks and syphoning of benefits and subsidies meant for the poor. It has also helped curb tax evasion, money launderers, benami accounts and shell companies," it said.