NEW DELHI: Undeterred by the Opposition criticism, the NDA government at the Centre vowed to ride on the might of unique identification number (Aadhar) to track down unaccounted and black money. Giving a sense of the government’s resolve, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on Wednesday retorted “Yes, we will...”, while countering concerns of the BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahatab, who had asked whether the government would force the people to enrol for Aadhar.
The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Finance Bill, including 40 amendments, after two days long discussions. The amendments included making Aadhar mandatory for PAN card and filing of income tax returns. “I have two PAN cards and I don’t have any intention to enrol for Aadhar. The amendments if carried out in the House will make my PAN cards invalid. I have no intention to avail the government benefits (subsidy) being passed on through direct benefit transfer (DBT). Therefore, I don’t need Aadhar,” Mahatab, who raised the question whether the government would force the people to go for the unique identification enumeration.
“Yes, we will,” retorted Jaitely, while replying to the discussions. He added that if the people have got five PAN cards issued in their names and using them for channelling the unaccounted money, the government will go after them. If one person gets multiple PAN cards and uses them for tax evasions, it’s necessary for the government to make Aadhar seeding mandatory, said the minister. Mahatab had argued that the Aadhar should be used only for the purpose of transfer of the government benefits.
The Opposition MPs afterwards wondered loudly, what was the purpose of then having so many identification cards, including the Voters’ cards, Driving licences. “There may come a stage when the Aadhar could be just one identification number as is the case with the social security number in the US. We have a unique technology available with us, which has enumerations of over 104 crore people. Why should the government not take advantage of it,” Jaitely argued.
The minister also stated that one of the amendments (Section 10 of the IT Act) being moved includes barring the disclosure of the source of information to the person against whom the income tax is carrying out the raids. “There has been a long standing demand to protect the identity of the source of information on the basis of which the IT conducts raids. Such information is proposed to be shared only with a court,” Jaitely added.
Countering the claims of the Opposition MPs, Jaitely claimed that the tax collections for the current financial year would even surpass the revised target, which was fixed at Rs 17 lakh crore. He added that the target for the tax collections for the next fiscal would be Rs 19.05 lakh crores.