You may not get away by merely quoting your permanent account number (PAN) if your cash deposits or withdrawals cross a certain annual threshold. As part of its latest efforts to crack down on the large flow of currency in the economy, the government is set to mandate Aadhaar authentication — either via electronic-KYC, using biometric tools or through a one-time password — in case you cross the specified value.
The move, which follows amendments proposed in the Finance Bill, will be extended to several other high value transactions, including purchase of foreign exchange above a prescribed limit, where consumers currently need to quote their PAN. Similarly, even in case of property transactions over a certain value, merely disclosing your Aadhaar or PAN will not work. At the time of property registration, the transaction may need to be Aadhaar-authenticated, sources said.
“We want to work out the limit in a way that only people making transactions above a certain value are tracked without causing hardship in case of smaller transactions,” a government source told TOI. While the limits are yet to be worked out, the mandatory Aadhaar authentication using biometric tools or OTP may kick in at Rs 20-25 lakh annual deposit or withdrawals.
Sources said the move was necessitated as several depositors were giving fake PANs, resulting in transactions not getting tracked. By mandating authentication, the government is trying to ensure that bogus identification numbers are not used. “It’s not foolproof but will help reduce fraud,” said the source.
So, the moment your cash deposits or withdrawals from bank accounts top the threshold, you will have to authenticate your Aadhaar. Again, to reduce difficulty to businesses that deal in cash, such as a kirana store or a dairy, a system may be worked out where every cash transaction with a bank does not need authentication. Other carve-outs may also be made. For instance, there may be a facility for authentication in case a shop owner is not going personally to deposit cash in the bank.
The large use of cash is seen as a major source of generation of black money in the economy and over the years, the government has begun collecting data on high value purchases such as jewellery, watches or property transactions over a threshold. While announcing the move to track them via Aadhaar in the budget, the government has now started on working out the details of how to make it more effective.