The Indian government has collected over Rs 600 crore as penalty for delayed linking of PAN with Aadhaar, according to a recent statement in Parliament. However, despite the deadline passing in June 2023, a significant number – approximately 11.48 crore – of Permanent Account Numbers (PANs) remain unlinked with the biometric identification system.
- Penalty Collection: As of January 31, 2024, the government has collected Rs 601.97 crore in late fees for unlinked PANs. This translates to roughly 60 million individuals who failed to meet the deadline and opted to pay the penalty to maintain their PAN functionality.
- Unlinked PANs: Despite the financial incentive, a substantial number of PANs (around 11.48 crore) remain unlinked. This raises questions about the effectiveness of the penalty measure and potential challenges faced by individuals in linking their PAN and Aadhaar.
- Impact on Individuals: Unlinked PANs face limitations, including higher Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and Tax Collected at Source (TCS) rates, and ineligibility for tax refunds. These consequences could disproportionately impact certain sections of the population who may lack access to resources or face technical difficulties in linking.
- Future Implications: The government hasn’t announced any further extensions or changes to the linking requirement. It remains to be seen whether the current penalty structure will incentivize remaining individuals to link their PANs or if alternative measures will be considered.
Delhi High Court upholds GST anti-profiteering provisions in major win for consumers
Considerations and Debate:
The PAN-Aadhaar linking mandate has been a subject of ongoing debate due to concerns about privacy, data security, and potential misuse of the combined information. While the government emphasizes the benefits of improved financial transparency and reduced tax evasion, critics argue that the linking requirement raises privacy concerns and may disproportionately impact vulnerable groups.
The significant penalty collection and remaining unlinked PANs highlight the complexity of the issue. It’s crucial to consider the diverse perspectives and potential ramifications before implementing further measures or enforcing stricter penalties. Open dialogue and addressing concerns around privacy and accessibility are essential to ensure a balanced approach that promotes financial transparency while safeguarding individual rights.