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Here's Why Aadhaar Will Become Your Main Id... - Outside View by PersonalFN

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Here's Why Aadhaar Will Become Your Main Id...
Mar 27, 2017

Do you file an income tax return?

If yes, then you must consider the next question.

How much do you value your privacy?

The Government wishes to make it mandatory for the income tax assesses, who must quote their Aadhaar card number while filing the Income-tax (IT) return. Moreover, even to obtain a PAN card you are expected to have an Aadhaar card.

In the past, the honourable Supreme Court of India asked the Central Government to call back all notifications that made Aadhaar mandatory while opting for benefits under any Government run scheme. Not only that, even various high courts have reprimanded the State Governments for making Aadhaar compulsory.

In 2014, Justice B.S. Chauhan told the Solicitor General, Mohan Parasaran,"I have received a lot of letters which say that Aadhaar card is mandatory despite court orders. We had already passed orders saying no one should suffer for not having Aadhaar card. How can you insist on Aadhaar card? If there are any instructions that Aadhaar is mandatory, it should be withdrawn immediately."

"Biometric data cannot be shared without the consent of the resident and as per its current data-sharing policy and guidelines. The right to privacy is one of the basic human right of an individual and the UIDAI is committed to protect this aspect," he added.

Opponents of this move have 3 concerns. They say...

  1. Why do we require an Aadhaar when there are so many other identities and address proofs which can be submitted to the income tax authorities;
  2. The Government is impeaching every single assessee as a tax dodger; and
  3. The Government is indirectly disrespecting the right to privacy

However, the Government has defended its decision suggesting that it will help in curbing the tax evasion.

In fact, the Government strategically introduced these changes in the Finance Bill 2017 and got the Bill passed in the Lok Sabha, where the Modi-led-NDA Government is in the majority. A "Money Bill" needs approval only of Lok Sabha, and not of the upper house, the Rajya Sabha, where the current dispensation is short of numbers.

While speaking to the media about making Aadhaar mandatory Finance Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley said, "One person has made five PAN cards. These are then used for tax evasion. That is why we have made Aadhaar mandatory. This reduces the possibility of this kind of tax fraud and evasion."

The principal architect of Aadhaar, Mr Nandan Nilekani came out in Mr Jaitley's support. "It is a good idea. Linking Aadhaar to PAN will make the PAN number unique," he said.

Speaking about the 'privacy' concerns raised by the critics of the decision, Mr Nilekani stated that, "The NDA Government's Aadhaar Bill has enough safeguards and this is probably the most stringent law on privacy till date in India."

"In fact, this (the Bill on privacy) is stronger than the original Bill. The Bill has very robust privacy protection beyond what any other legislation has ever provided in India. It is as good as it gets," he added further.

This makes the matters more complicated.

At the outset, the arguments Mr Jaitley and Mr Nilekani made don't seem to be off beam. It will help curb malpractices and tax evasion. But the issue lies in how it is being made compulsory. The Government should try to address the genuine concerns of those who are opposing the move.

If it wants to go ahead with its decision of making Aadhaar mandatory for filing tax returns, it must accept the responsibility for the safety of biometric and other crucial details of assessees.The Government must fix the responsibility on its concerned departments and must pay compensations for breaches of data privacy.

As far as your tax return is concerned, as of now, you can only protest if you dislike the move, but you will still have to comply with the new rules (even though they appear to be a contempt of Court).

PersonalFN is a Mumbai based personal finance firm offering Financial Planning and Mutual Fund Research services.

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1 Responses to "Here's Why Aadhaar Will Become Your Main Id..."

Mani

Mar 28, 2017

I fail to understand why you are opposed to use of Aadhaar to prise out black money. How does this affect your privacy? Or else, if you feel so strongly about this, please suggest alternate methods of weeding out additional PAN cards with the same person.

Further, the use of single identity cards are in force in most of the developed countries including the USA. We do not see such objections even in those countries, which treasure the right to privacy. In fact, Aadhaar has built sufficient safeguards to guard an individual's privacy.

Your unnecessary comment regarding contempt of court is uncalled for. The Supreme Court has clarified that the Aadhaar scheme cannot be made compulsory only for welfare schemes of the Government.

Aadhaar is the best thing that has happened to the country in a long time. It is disgusting that you take the side of black money holders and terrorists in your blind opposition to PM Modi and his NDA Government.

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