The Unique Identification Authority of India on Tuesday said printing the Aadhaar card on plastic sheets makes it unusable and prone to data theft. “There is no concept such as smart or plastic Aadhaar card,” UIDAI Chief Executive Officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey said.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Aadhaar authority said printing the cards often made the QR code “dysfunctional”, and exposed the user’s details to the shops printing the card. “The so-called Aadhaar Smart card is totally unnecessary and a waste,” Pandey said while advising people to “keep away from such elements, shops and vendors”.

Pandey said a downloaded Aadhaar card printed on ordinary paper, or just the mAadhaar, or mobile Aadhaar, is valid.