In an advisory to citizens, the government has cautioned people against sharing the photocopy of Aadhaar with any organisation as it can be misused. It asked people to use a masked Aadhaar that displays only the last four digits of the Aadhaar number.
The development assumes significance as people have been asked to link their Aadhaar with PAN and a significant number of people have already done that. Aadhaar is also linked with bank accounts, which makes any vulnerability of Aadhaar data leak more worrisome.
“Do not share photocopy of your Aadhaar with any organisations because it can be misused. Alternatively, please use a masked Aadhaar which displays only the last 4 digits of your Aadhaar number. It can be downloaded from UIDAI official website https://myaadhaar.uidai.gov.in. Please select the option ‘Do you want a masked Aadhaar’ and proceed to download,” the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has said in a statement.
The existence of any Aadhaar number can be verified at https://myaadhaar.uidai.gov.in/verifyAadhaar. To verify offline, you can scan the QR code on e-Aadhaar or Aadhaar letter or Aadhaar PVC card using QR code scanner in the mAadhaar mobile application, it said.
“Only those organisations that have obtained a user licence from the UIDAI can use Aadhaar for establishing the identity of a person. Unlicensed private entities like hotels or film halls are not permitted to collect or keep copies of Aadhaar card. It is an offence under the Aadhaar Act 2016. If a private3 entity demands to see your Aadhaar card, or seeks a photocopy of your Aadhaar card, please verify that they have valid user licence from the UIDAI,” the statement said.
The ministry also asked people to avoid a public computer at an internet cafe to download e-Aadhaar. “However, if you do so, please ensure that you delete all the downloaded copies of e-Aadhaar permanently from that computer.”
The government has asked people to link their Aadhaar with PAN. “Till March 31, 2023, the PAN of the assessees who have not intimated their Aadhaar, will continue to be functional for the procedures under the Act, like furnishing of return of income, processing of refunds, etc,” the finance ministry has said.
In a statement on March 30, the finance ministry said, “After March 31, 2023, the PAN of taxpayers who fail to intimate their Aadhaar, as required, shall become inoperative and all the consequences under the Act (Income Tax Act, 1961) for not furnishing, intimating or quoting the PAN shall apply to such taxpayers.”
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in a notification has also said those who have not linked their Aadhaar and PAN numbers so far will have to pay a penalty of Rs 500 if done within three months and Rs 1,000 if done beyond that. However, the PAN will remain operative for the time being even if not being linked to Aadhaar.
The notification released on March 30 said, “Every person who, in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 139AA, is required to intimate his Aadhaar number to the prescribed authority in the prescribed form and manner, fails to do so by the date referred to in the said sub-section, shall, at the time of subsequent intimation of his Aadhaar number to the prescribed authority, be liable to pay, by way of fee, an amount equal to, — (a) five hundred rupees, in a case where such intimation is made within three months from the date referred to in sub-section (2) of section 139AA; and (b) one thousand rupees, in all other cases.”