Mumbai, Sep 25 (IANS) The income tax department is contemplating enhancing security features in Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards by introducing biometric identification and coding that will also help in checking against duplicate cards.
'Though the concept is in the nascent and incubation stage, it will weed out the existence of duplicate PAN cards,' K. Venkataramani, chief income tax commissioner, Mumbai circle, said here Monday.
'We are hopeful of a concrete decision about the use of the biometric identification system by the next financial year,' the official told a news conference.
'Biometric identification can provide extremely accurate, secured access to information. Fingerprints as well as retinal and iris scans produce absolutely unique data sets when done systematically,' he said.
The IT department was faced with as many as 158,427 out of a total of 323,699 PAN cardholders in the Mumbai circle alone having 'duplicate' PAN cards, Venkataramani said.
'Some of these cases might be due to valid reasons - like receiving multiple cards because of applying at least twice.
'However, some of these cards have been obtained with malafide intentions. These cards have been obtained by using different names - like the full name is written in one case while in another the initials and surname are written,' the official pointed out.
'To tackle this problem, We have launched a de-duplication drive and the department is writing letters to persons who have more than one PAN card asking them to surrender the additional card/s,' he said.
The deadline for this is Dec 31, 2006 and in future people will be penalised in case they are found using duplicate PAN cards. The penalty would be as high as Rs.10,000 per instance (of use of cards), Venkataramani said.
Meanwhile, he said the department's revenue collection for the current financial year up to Sep 20 was Rs.233.15 billion as compared to Rs.143.69 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year, showing a 26 percent growth.
He said advance tax collections from the top 100 tax paying sectors including banks, automobiles, cement, chemicals, insurance, manufacture, metals, non-residential banks and petroleum in the September 2006 instalment was Rs.108.10 billion as compared to Rs.85.58 billion in the corresponding period last year.