Abu Dhabi: Indian expatriates here are concerned about the latest move by Indian government to make Aadhaar identity card mandatory for accessing several services and transactions.
Most Indian expats, who mostly use passports as their primary identification document, do not have bio-metric identity card that was introduced six years ago.
From PAN to panic
However, the latest government moves to link Aadhaar card with PAN (Permanent Account Number – issued by income tax authorities for tax and financial transactions) by June 30, 2017 has caused panic among NRIs.
PAN is mandatory for several banking transactions, including to make bank deposits cash above Rupees 50,000 (Dh2,750).
The PAN will be redundant after the June 30-deadline, if it is not linked with Aadhaar card.
Although NRIs are exempted from income-tax on their income abroad, they have to file tax returns for their income earned in India above Rupees 500,000 per annum, for which PAN is mandatory, said Alok Tuteja, an internal audit manager, based in Abu Dhabi.
“I took the Aadhaar card five years ago and linked it with PAN last year as I had to file tax returns on my rental income in India,” he said.
However, Tuteja said, most of his Indian colleagues and friends in the UAE do not have Aadhaar card and are unlikely to get one before June 30 deadline. “I think the government will give have to give some sort of exemption to Indian expats in this regard,” he said.
A redundant PAN for not having Aadhaar card will also affect NRIs who invest in Indian stock market, for which PAN is mandatory.
Aadhaar will be required to book online train tickets from May. “Many NRIs travel by train from the airports as their small towns are linked by rail and road only. This rule will affect them,” said Nandita Tushar Raut, 31, in Dubai.
Mandatory by October 2017?
Aadhaar may become mandatory by October 2017 to apply for or renew Indian driving licence.
This week, telecom operators have been directed to re-verify their existing subscribers through Aadhaar card by February 6, 2018.
About the NRIs’ worry about the issue, Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News: “We have also noted these concerns and have brought them to the attention of the relevant officials in Delhi. We will get back with a more substantive response once we hear from them,” he said.