The government has decided to revive the stalled biometric PAN (Permanent Account Number) cards project in order to check the proliferation of fake and duplicate cards, reports quoting income tax department sources said today.
The decision comes in the wake of the 2010-11 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) that faults the income tax department for not ensuring that a single tax payer is not issued with multiple PAN cards.
The proposed biometric cards would bear the assessee's fingerprints and the face.
Existing PAN cardholders can also opt for the biometric cards, but it may not be mandatory, a senior official in the I-T department said.
In the wake of the UID project, the finance ministry and the I-T department had put the biometric PAN card project on hold last year.
The biometric PAN card project has been revived as it is important to stop the misuse of this document, the report quoted finance ministry sources as saying.
The biometric PAN card was proposed by the then finance minister P Chidambaram in 2006 to counter the problem of duplicate PAN cards.
The CAG report for 2010-11 on direct taxes has revealed that 95.8 million PAN cards were issued up to March 2010 against 34.09 million I-T returns filed in the last fiscal.