Should NRIs Link PAN & Aadhaar?
While it is true that non-resident Indians (NRIs) are not required to have an Aadhaar number, there seems to be some confusion when it comes to linking their permanent account number (PAN) with the UID (unique identity) number. 
 
Many NRIs are under the impression that like other resident Indians if they do not link their PAN with Aadhaar by 30 September 2019, it would become invalid or inoperative. But this is not true.
 
The mandatory linking of PAN and Aadhaar applies to residents in India. 
 
NRIs, although they are citizens of India, are not eligible for Aadhaar if they have not stayed in the country for more than 182 days or more in the past 12 months. 
 
Only after completion of 182 days of their stay in India in the past 12 months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment, NRIs can apply for an Aadhaar. This is as per the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act.
 
Clarifying on whether PAN of NRIs would be blocked for not linking with Aadhaar, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) (https://uidai.gov.in/contact-support/have-any-question/291-faqs/your-aadhaar/nri-aadhaar.html) says, "...mandatory quoting of Aadhaar or Enrolment ID shall apply only to a person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number... the requirement to quote Aadhaar as per section 139AA of the Income-tax Act shall not apply to an individual who is not a resident as per the Aadhaar Act, 2016. Moreover, Filing details of the Aadhaar number while submitting Income Tax returns from July 2017 does not apply to NRIs."
 
 
As per Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, every person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number shall, on or after the 1st day of July, 2017, quote Aadhaar number, in the application form for allotment of PAN and in the return of income. The above provisions apply to persons who are eligible to get Aadhaar.
 
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting her maiden Budget, had, however, proposed to allow NRIs to obtain Aadhaar soon after their landing in India, without waiting for the 180 days mandatory period as residents. 
 
NRIs, who had obtained Aadhaar and are filing tax returns, can link it with PAN through the I-T department's website https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/. 
 
Coming back to the question of what happens if PAN is not linked with Aadhaar on or before 30 September 2019, we need to look at a proposal in this year's Budget. In the Budget 2017, it was mentioned that PAN cards that are not linked with Aadhaar would become invalid. 
 
However, the date for such linking was extended several times even after the judgement from the Supreme Court.
 
On 31st March this year, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) notification extended till 30 September 2019, the date to link PAN with Aadhaar for eligible residents. 
 
Further, individual taxpayers (resident) are mandated to quote and link Aadhaar with PAN. But this condition does not apply to NRIs, who are not eligible to obtain an Aadhaar number. 
 
In addition, this year's Budget had used a word 'inoperative' instead of 'invalid' while referring to non-linking of PAN with Aadhaar. This is being done to make sure that PAN cards used to carry out some transactions earlier, should not become obsolete as it may erase the trails of the transaction and the individual. 
 
"In order to protect validity of transactions previously carried out through such PAN, it is proposed to amend the said proviso so as to provide that if a person fails to intimate the Aadhaar number, the PAN allotted to such person shall be made inoperative in the prescribed manner," the Budget document says.
 
Marking the PAN not linked with Aadhaar as 'inoperative' instead of 'invalid' has become effective from 1 September 2019. While there is no clarity yet as to how to revive the inoperative PAN, residents who have not yet linked PAN with Aadhaar should not worry about their PAN card becoming invalid.
 
In short, if you are an NRI and do not have an Aadhaar, then there is no need to fear of your PAN becoming invalid. If you are NRI and have obtained an Aadhaar, then you can link it, if you wish. 
 
But in any case, PAN cards of NRIs will not become invalid for not linking it with Aadhaar. This is because the requirement to quote Aadhaar as per Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act does not apply to an individual who is not a resident (or is an NRI) as per the Aadhaar Act.    
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    COMMENTS

    BR

    2 months ago

    The IR Dept says that if the existing PAN is declared as if fake, a new PAN must be got. It is a nuisance to link it with ALL OLD investments. So the Govt must change its rules to let PAN continue to be Valid After 30.9.19 eve if not linked wjth AADHAAR.

    Hemant

    2 months ago

    What about Resident senior citizens above 80 & are also exempted to get Aadhaar Card ? As it's impossible to get their finger print for getting card.

    Why is There an Aadhaar Number on Some RuPay Debit Cards?
    The increasing encroachment and bulldozing on Aadhaar continues, with complete disregard to the minimal protection that is belatedly being promised by ensuring that Aadhaar numbers are not published in the public domain. However, I found a lost RuPay debit card with Aadhaar printed on it without the cardholder’s name.
     
    This is extremely worrisome and exposes the unknown card-holder, whose card I found on my way to work, to extraordinary risk. There are two reasons: first, linking Aadhaar with bank accounts is very risky and second, displaying or printing the full Aadhaar number is a punishable offence under the Aadhaar Act. Yet, some banks are bold enough to print the Aadhaar number of the RuPay debit cardholder.  
     
    (Image for representation)
     
    Responding to our email, Dilip Asbe, managing director and chief executive of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which has launched the RuPay card payment scheme, categorically denied Aadhaar requirement for RuPay card. 
     
    When we showed him some RuPay cards that have Aadhaar numbers printed on them, Mr Asbe says, "Aadhaar is not mandatory for RuPay card issuance. These must be some old variants."
     
    Several banks, including Bank of Baroda, Karnataka Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and Saraswat Bank, among others, are issuing RuPay debit cards that carry the Aadhaar number along with the cardholder’s name. However, other banks are issuing Rupay debit card with just the cardholder’s name and without the Aadhaar number. 
      
     
     
    In one case, I found, only Aadhaar was printed on the international RuPay debit card. Name of the cardholder was missing from this card as well. After asking, I was told by the bank that this was the insta-debit card, which is issued to the account holder immediately after opening an account. Hence there is no name of the cardholder or account holder. However, Aadhaar is printed on the RuPay debit card as per the specification issued by NPCI, the bank official said.  
     
     
    So how come the Aadhaar number started being displayed on RuPay debit cards? This started with the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), where account holders were issued RuPay debit cards that carried a personal accident and permanent total disability insurance cover of Rs1 lakh. PMJDY accounts opened after 28 August 2018 have an accidental insurance cover of Rs2 lakh. 
     
    Even NPCI's own portal for RuPay shows the Aadhaar number along with the name of cardholder on the sample debit card.  
     
    The NPCI portal says, "PMJDY is a national mission for financial inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely, banking and savings and deposit accounts, remittance, credit, insurance, pension in an affordable manner. RuPay PMJDY debit card is issued with accounts opened under PM Jan Dhan Yojana."
     
    From this we can assume that the Aadhaar number is mentioned on RuPay debit cards issued for PMJDY account holders. However, all these bank accounts are basic savings bank deposit accounts (BSBDAs). 
         
    So the question is how an account holder was issued an international debit card that has only Aadhaar displayed on it? The below images show that the use of Aadhaar number on a RuPay debit card is not limited to BSDBA accounts only and is more widespread.
     
    Last month, while responding to a question in the Lok Sabha on linking the RuPay card and accounts with Aadhaar, Anurag Thakur, minister of state for finance and corporate affairs, said that the linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts is on a 'voluntary basis', unless the account holder is receiving any benefit or subsidy under any scheme under Section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act. 
     
    Interestingly, the Aadhaar Act under Chapter IV- 29 prohibits publishing, displaying or posting publicly any Aadhaar number. This is a punishable offence under Chapter VII 38 (g), which says…
     
    (g) reveals any information in contravention of sub-section (5) of section 28, or shares, uses or displays information in contravention of section 29 or assists any person in any of the aforementioned acts;
     
    In addition, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues Aadhaar numbers had asked all user agencies and departments in its advisory never to reveal the full Aadhaar number. “Full Aadhaar number display must be controlled only by the Aadhaar holder or various special roles or users having the need within the agency or department. Otherwise, by default, all displays should be masked,” UIDAI says.
     
     
    This applies to the debit cards issued by RuPay as well, which display Aadhaar numbers of the cardholder in contravention of Chapter IV 29. So will there be any action against NPCI and the banks for violating various sections of the Aadhaar Act? Well, there is not much hope, unless UIDAI thinks otherwise and decides to act tough, at least for once.       
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    People in MP district struggle to get Aadhaar cards
    People in Madhya Pradesh's Betul have to travel miles to get their Aadhaar cards made as there are very few facilitation centres which issue them. The nine head post offices in the district practically caters to Betul's total population of 15 lakh people.
     
    Long queues of people outside the post offices are seen on a regular basis. On their first visit, a token is issued to them mentioning the next date of their visit to get their Aadhar cards made. 
     
    "We know that people are facing hardships in getting their cards made. We are working to solve the issue, and soon people will get relief," said District Officer Tejasvi S. Naik. 
     
    "More centres are being opened at different places so that people from villages do not have to come to the Head Post Office," said another district official Manish Warwade.
     
    Officials have claimed that there are Aadhaar felicitation centres in branches of banks like HDFC Bank, Union Bank of India and State Bank of Betul. But as people are unaware of this, they travel to their nearest Head Post Office.
     
    People from the rural areas, especially farmers, come from far off places to get their Aadhaar cards which is mandatory to avail several Central and state government schemes. 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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