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NRI Alert : Indian expats need not worry about Aadhaar card

Image for illustrative purpose only. A cashier displays the new 2000 Indian rupee banknotes inside a bank in Jammu, India November 15, 2016.

Image for illustrative purpose only. A cashier displays the new 2000 Indian rupee banknotes inside a bank in Jammu, India November 15, 2016.

REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

Sunday, Jun 18, 2017

Abu Dhabi: Indian expatriates living across the globe need not worry about any possible problems with their financial or income tax transactions in India for not having an Aadhaar (Indian biometric ID card), an official said on Sunday.

Despite the exemption previously announced by the Indian authorities, many Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) expressed their concerns about disruption of transactions in NRE (Non-Resident External) bank accounts in India and filing of income tax returns. As PAN (Permanent Account Number — issued by income tax authorities for tax and financial transactions) was already made mandatory for holding a bank account, NRIs are concerned about a June 30 deadline to link Aadhaar with PAN. Failure to link Aadhaar with PAN makes PAN redundant and hence some NRIs feared that this could affect their banking transactions.

PAN is already mandatory to make cash deposits above Rs50,000 (Dh2,850) with banks in India. A redundant PAN will also affect NRIs who invest in Indian stock market, for which PAN is mandatory.

However, a latest Indian government notification has further alleviated these concerns. The requirement of quoting of Aadhaar shall not apply to NRIs for filing of return of income and for making an application for PAN with effect from July 1, 2017, according to the notification issued by the Central Government on May 11. As Gulf News reported on April 7, India’s Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had also made a similar announcement.

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The government started giving these exemptions to NRIs after a top official clarified that NRIs were not eligible for Aadhaar and onus was on the government departments to give exemptions to NRIs in this regard. As Gulf News exclusively reported on March 30, Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said in a telephone interview from New Delhi that instead of Aadhaar, the departments could get a declaration from the NRI that, being an NRI, he or she was not eligible for Aadhaar card.

As Gulf News reported on April 11, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi had also announced that Aadhaar was not mandatory for obtaining a driver’s licence or a SIM card in India. Aadhaar is one of the several documents recognised for address proof of the applicant, it said.

A senior embassy official said that there was no change in the previous announcement. “It is still valid because NRIs are not eligible for Aadhaar as per the law. Otherwise, this law has to be amended,” Dinesh Kumar, counsellor, community affairs at the embassy, told Gulf News on Sunday.

As per Indian laws, an individual is considered a resident, if he or she has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to 182 days or more in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of application [for relevant services or documents like Aadhaar]. An applicant for Aadhaar has to make a declaration that he or she is a resident of India.

By Binsal Abdul Kader Senior Reporter

Gulf News 2017. All rights reserved.

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