New Delhi: Aadhaar may become the only identity (ID) card in future, while making it mandatory for filing of Income Tax returns is necessary to curb tax evasion and frauds, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
Replying to the debate on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said that Aadhaar may become the only card in future replacing all other types of identity cards such as Voter ID and PAN.
He said the Aadhaar-based Unique Identity (UID) system had been conceptualised by the previous UPA government.
“Almost every tax paying family has Aadhaar. Now 98 per cent adults have Aadhaar and 108 crore Aadhaars have been issued,” Jaitley said.
After two-day debate, the Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Finance Bill.
The bill was passed through voice vote, with over 40 amendments by the government, one of which will make an Aadhaar card, or enrollment number, mandatory for filing Income Tax returns after July 1.
“Aadhar made mandatory because we have cases of some people have five-five PAN cards. These can be used for tax evasion, that’s why Aadhaar has been made compulsory,” the Finance Minister told the House.
“Aadhaar has biometric details, so its chances of misuse become minimal,” he added.
Referring to the demonetisation drive to check corruption, Jaitley said data mining done by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had showed up 18 lakh cases whose deposits did not match with their income and who were then notified by mail or messages.
“Of these, 8.71 lakh people have responded to queries. The Income Tax Department will act against the rest,” he said.
The opposition objected to the amendment that makes Aadhaar Card mandatory for filing of income tax returns.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Mohammad Salim wondered if an Aadhaar Card cannot be duplicated. “If duplicate PAN (Permanent Account Number) Card can be made, can’t a duplicate Aadhaar card be made,” Salim asked.
Jaitley alswo said the amendment to reduce the ceiling on cash transactions is to curb generation of black money and the move to introduce electoral bonds is for cleansing the political funding.
“To encourage digital economy and to discourage cash economy, I had proposed in Budget that there will be a ban on cash transactions of over Rs 3 lakh. I am making it Rs 2 lakh by an amendment,” he said.