Government to issue biometric PAN cards to taxpayers

The proposed new biometric PAN cards would bear the I-T assessee's fingerprints (two from each hand) and the face. It is expected that the first such cards could be issued by late this year

New Delhi: The government has decided to issue biometric Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards to taxpayers across the country to weed out the problem of duplicate and fake ones, reports PTI.

The decision was taken recently by the finance ministry and it comes in the wake of a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report that asked the Income Tax (I-T) department to ensure that a single taxpayer is not issued multiple cards.

The proposed new biometric PAN cards would bear the I-T assessee's fingerprints (two from each hand) and the face.

There could be an option to existing PAN card holders to opt for the biometric cards, but it may not be mandatory, a senior I-T official said.

The finance ministry and the I-T department had put on hold the biometric PAN card project last year to avoid duplication with the Unique Identification (UID) numbers to be issued by Nandan Nilekani's Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI).

"The biometric PAN card project is on again. The step will be very important when it comes to stopping the misuse of this vital identity document," top sources in the finance ministry said.

The biometric PAN card was proposed by the then finance minister P Chidambaram in 2006 to counter the problem of duplicate PAN cards which were uncovered during I-T searches and raids by police and other enforcement agencies.

The CAG report for 2010-11 on direct taxes, tabled in Parliament recently, has revealed that 958 lakh (95.8 million) PANs were issued up to March 2010 but I-T returns filed in the last fiscal were only 340.9 lakh (34.09 million).

The gap between PAN holders and the number of returns filed was 617.1 lakh (61.7 million), the CAG has said.

Suggesting the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to identify the reasons for the gap and use the information to enhance the assessee base, the CAG has said it may be due to issuance of multiple PAN cards and death of some PAN card holders.

"The (I-T) department needs to put in place appropriate controls to weed out the duplicate PANs and also update the position in respect of deceased assessees," the report has said.

The plan has been set rolling for issuance of biometric PAN cards, according to sources. It is expected that the first such cards could be issued by late this year, they said.

While PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number allotted by the I-T department to taxpayers, biometrics uses biological method to identify physical features of an individual.

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Essar Oil Q4 net up 78% at Rs321 crore

"This is a strong financial result driven by record refinery throughput of 14.76 million tonnes per annum and a healthy uplift of over 80% in gross refinery margins," Essar Oil CEO and managing director Naresh Nayyar informed media persons

New Delhi: Essar Oil today reported a 78% jump in its fourth quarter ending 31st March to Rs321 crore, on back of record refinery throughput and higher margins, reports PTI.

"This is a strong financial result driven by record refinery throughput of 14.76 million tonnes per annum and a healthy uplift of over 80% in gross refinery margins (GRMs)," Essar Oil CEO and managing director Naresh Nayyar told a conference call.
Essar Oil earned $8.15 for turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel in January-March quarter as against $5.37 per barrel GRM in the same period a year ago.

Revenues soared 24% to Rs14,846 crore in the fourth quarter.

For the full year 2010-11, net profit jumped to Rs654 crore as against Rs29 crore in the previous year.

"Demand for petroleum products in India is expected to continue to grow sharply and we remain focused on delivering our key projects, which in 2011 includes the first phase of our Vadinar refinery expansion," he said.

Expansion of Vadinar refinery in Gujarat to 18 million tonnes per annum is on track for mechanical completion in Q2 and Q3, 2011 calendar year.

"The optimisation project to enhance refinery capacity to 20 million tonnes a year is on track for completion by September 2012," he said.

Essar Oil has 1,635 petrol pumps, of which 1,381 are operational and 254 are in various stages of construction.

For full year, gross revenues increased 25% to Rs53,119 crore from Rs42,402 crore in FY 2009-10.

Current price GRM registered an 87% growth to $6.91 per barrel in FY 2010-11 from $3.70 a barrel in FY 2009-10.

Mr Nayyar said the Vadinar refinery continued to operate well above its nameplate capacity of 10.5 million tonnes per annum, processing a record 14.76 million tonnes of crude oil in 2010-11, 9% higher than the 13.50 million tonnes of crude oil processed during 2009-10.

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Hazare suggests Sibal should resign from Lokpal joint committee if he is not serious about the matter

The union minister is reported to have said at a public meeting on Sunday that the Lokpal Bill would not help to give education, medical services to people

New Delhi: Anna Hazare, who is leading a vociferous campaign against corruption in the country, today suggested that Kapil Sibal, union minister for human resources development, should resign from the joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill if he believes that nothing will come out of it.

He was reacting to a reported statement by Mr Sibal about the Lokpal institution. "If Mr Sibal feels that nothing will happen due to the Lokpal Bill, then he should resign from the joint committee as soon as possible. Why is he wasting his and our time? He should do other things for the country. Why does he want to be in the committee. If you believe that nothing will happen, you should not be there in the joint committee, he should resign and do some other work," he told journalists before he left for his hometown in Maharashtra, PTI reports.  

Mr Sibal is reported to have said at a public meeting on Sunday, "I ask this question, if a poor child does not have any means for education, then how will Lokpal Bill help? If a poor man needs help for medical services, then he will call up a politician. How will Lokpal Bill help."

Told about Mr Hazare's response suggesting that he should step out of the joint committee, Mr Sibal told journalists today that he was with the Gandhian and that he wanted the Bill to be drafted as early as possible and that it should be effective in tackling corruption everywhere. Clarifying his previous remarks, Mr Sibal said what he meant was that "the scope of the Bill is different. The problems of the common man are different."

"I said that if you want to educate children, then this has no connection to Lokpal. If there is no convenience of water ... Lokpal is only connected to corruption and we will bring a good bill that will stop corruption," Mr Sibal said. He said they would sit with Mr Hazare and bring out a bill so that the objective would be realised.

Mr Hazare also took exception to Janata Dal (S) leader HD Kumaraswamy's reported statement that "if Mahatma Gandhi was alive today, he would have either fallen prey to corruption or would have shunned politics itself".

"If our leaders are talking like this, how are you going to root out corruption," the 73-year-old activist, who is spearheading the agitation on the Lokpal Bill, said.

Activist Kiran Bedi said Mr Sibal should not waste the time of other committee members if he had no faith in its efforts. "Then it is better for him to withdraw from the committee," she said.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal said Mr Sibal should not have made "sweeping" statements on the Lokpal and that this would lead to doubts about the "seriousness" of the government in creating the legislation. "If you are not getting ration due to corruption, then you can get relief from this Lokpal. If you are not getting admission in a school, you can get some relief. But if there is no school, then Lokpal will not help you. It is a different domain and government has to do it," Mr Kejriwal said. He said the legislation would be only to tackle corruption.

Questioning the sincerity and seriousness of the government on the matter, Mr Kejriwal said, "Obstacles were put, even in small issues like issuing a notification to set up the joint drafting committee. Now how many obstacles they will put during the committee meetings, we don't know. May be many more protests will be needed," Mr Kejriwal said.

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COMMENTS

Shadi Katyal

6 years ago

Here is a good example of dirty politics already brick batting has started. Does that not show some kind of conspiracy?
Who is Kajriwala and his group and how can there be a LOK PAL BILL with such partisan involved.;
Would the people select the committee to write such a bill or the party in power?
There are many bridges to cross but it seems water is already being muddied

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