Aadhaar now a must for post office deposits, PPF, NSC, KVP
New Delhi: After making Aadhaar mandatory for bank deposits, filing income-tax returns and applying for a permanent account number (PAN), the government has made the unique identification number compulsory for all post office deposits, Public Provident Fund (PPF) accounts and the National Savings Certificate and Kisan Vikas Patra schemes.
In four separate notifications, the ministry of finance on Friday mandated the 12-digit unique ID number for establishing the identity of account holders. Existing depositors have been given time till 31 December to submit their Aadhaar numbers.
It is another step towards making the use of Aadhaar all-pervasive in a country where it is already being used to better target beneficiaries of some government subsidies and welfare programmes.
“Provided that where Aadhaar number has not been assigned, the depositor shall submit proof of application of enrolment for Aadhaar,” the notification dated 29 September said.
Existing depositors who have not provided the Aadhaar number at the time of application for such deposits “shall submit his Aadhaar number to the post office savings bank or deposit office concerned, on or before December 31, 2017”, it added.
There are more than 1.18 billion Aadhaar card holders in the country.
Last month, the government extended the deadline for obtaining Aadhaar for availing government schemes and subsidies by three months to 31 December. Earlier, those who did not have Aadhaar were asked to enrol for one by 30 September.
As many as 135 schemes (of 35 ministries) including the free cooking gas to poor women, kerosene and fertilizer subsidy, targeted public distribution system and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act will be covered by the extension.
Also, the last date for linking Aadhaar with PAN was again extended from 31 August to 31 December, according to an order dated 31 August issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes.
Earlier this year, the government had made quoting one’s Aadhaar or Aadhaar enrolment ID compulsory while applying for a PAN, which is mandatory for filing tax returns, opening bank accounts and financial transactions beyond a threshold.
“The very premise of Aadhaar is to make identification easier. Instead, people are not able to identify themselves without linking their other identity proofs such as PAN to Aadhaar. This shift is increasing hardships especially for the poor,” said Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society, a Bengaluru-based think tank.
While the Supreme Court has settled the question of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with PAN card and its requirement for filing tax returns, all other issues surrounding Aadhaar will be heard by a three-judge constitution bench.
A total of 22 cases have been tagged to be heard by a constitution bench on Aadhaar. They challenge several aspects of Aadhaar and the use and sharing of data collected under the programme.
Among these challenges are those involving making Aadhaar mandatory for social welfare benefits, infringement of the right to privacy, and making Aadhaar mandatory for filing tax returns and for obtaining and retaining a PAN.
Priyanka Mittal contributed to this story.
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