The ET has reported that the Income Tax (IT) Department will soon start issuing permanent account numbers (PAN) online using details from the Aadhaar database.
The electronic PAN (ePan) facility is expected to be rolled out within the next few weeks according to the ET report. A pilot rollout of the feature was conducted over eight days by issuing 62,000 ePANs. The feature will be free of cost and is expected to also help individuals having an existing PAN to get a duplicate copy in a matter of minutes.
The ET report mentions that the digitally signed ePAN will have a QR code, which will contain an individual’s basic details and photograph. As a security measure, the information in the QR code will be encrypted. Those applying for a PAN will have to verify their Aadhaar details using a one-time password (OTP). Since individuals’ basic information (address, father's name and date of birth) will be taken from the Aadhaar database, there will be no need to upload documents to provide the details.
Once a PAN is generated, the applicant will be issued a digitally signed ePAN, with a QR code which will capture the demographic data besides photo of the applicant.
The information in the QR code will be in encrypted format so as to prevent forgery or digital photoshopping. The move is part of greater digitisation of income tax services. After the launch of this feature, people will not need to visit the office in person and it would also end the long waiting time to get a PAN.
After SC judgment on Aadhaar in August 2019, which allowed usage of the Aadhaar number linking to PAN, the government has decided to make it mandatory for several high-value transactions and those who do not have PAN will now be issued one instantly based on Aadhaar.