Defending the amendment in the Finance Bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that biometric security of Aadhaar would prevent individuals from holding multiple PAN cards and evading tax.
“In a situation where it has come to light that one citizen has up to five PAN cards, to avoid that, we have linked the PAN to Aadhaar,” Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha. “So, we have said either give Aadhaar or an application for Aadhaar. About 98% of the adult population is covered by Aadhaar and 108 crore cards have been issued.” he added.
The Finance Bill cleared by the Lok Sabha, making an Aadhaar number mandatory for the issuance of a PAN card.
“If tax fraud is lessened, then who would have a problem with this?” he further asked, in response to criticism from the Opposition, which said that Aadhaar-linkage was wrong since the matter of the legality of Aadhaar was still in Supreme Court. “It is an anti-evasion measure and in the benefit of the country.”
He also sought to allay concerns in Parliament about aggressive and unwarranted search and seizures by Income Tax officials saying that the assessing officer can only make such searches after recording the source of their information regarding undisclosed income.
Jaitley also said that the Central Board of Direct Taxes had so far identified 18 lakh names where large deposits were made in banks that were not commensurate with the income profile of these assessees. Communications have been issued to all 18 lakh assessees, the Finance Minister added.
“The fear is that there will be many searches and seizures under Section 132A,” Jaitley said. He added “But before searching, the assessing officer has to get the information on undisclosed income. The source of the information and all other details have to be detailed (before the search and seizure can be conducted).”