All PAN cards that are not linked to Aadhaar by 1 September will be invalidated by the government, The Wire reported quoting sources in the finance ministry. At the moment, 180 million out of the existing 400 million PAN cards are not linked to Aadhaar.
In the Union Budget announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 5 July, it was declared that Aadhaar and PAN will be made interchangeable, which would effectively allow citizens to use Aadhaar for filing tax returns.
The PAN cards not linked to Aadhaar will be invalidated and such individuals will be able to use Aadhaar to file tax returns instead.
According to The Wire, those who cite an Aadhaar number which is not already linked to a PAN number for tax returns and other specified transactions after 1 September, will get a fresh one from the Income Tax Department.
If citizens furnish their Aadhaar number for either tax returns or specified transactions without linking it with PAN, the I-T department will automatically generate a new PAN number electronically which the citizens can download online and use in the future, interchangeably with Aadhaar, sources in the finance ministry told The Wire.
“At present, about 220 million PAN cards are linked to Aadhaar and about 180 million are not. We are going to provide the flexibility to use either. But PAN cards that are not so far linked to Aadhaar will be first put in suspension. Citizens can activate them by linking them to Aadhaar,” The Wire quoted sources in the finance ministry as saying.
Parliament on Monday, 8 July passed an amendment bill which allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity for users to open bank accounts and get mobile phone connections.
The amendment bill, which also provides for a stiff Rs 1 crore penalty and a jail term for private entities for violating provisions on Aadhaar data, was earlier passed by Lok Sabha on 4 July. It was introduced on 24 June to replace an ordinance issued in March 2019.
The amendments provide for use of Aadhaar number for KYC authentication on voluntary basis under the Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
Put simply, this means it will allow voluntary use of Aadhaar number for authentication and identity proof in opening bank accounts and procuring mobile phone
It also gives option to children to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age, while stipulating stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy.
Displaying his personal Aadhaar card in the House, the minister said it only discloses his name, father's name, date of birth, residential address and does not give out any information on medical records or details of caste, religion and community.
Aadhaar data can only be shared when there is a threat to national security or there is court order, he added.
(With inputs from The Wire and PTI)
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