Government starts issuing newly designed ‘tamper-proof’ PAN cards
The government has started issuing newly designed PAN (Permanent Account Number) cards that have additional security features to make them tamper-proof and with contents written in both Hindi and English.
The changes on the new card include the addition of a Quick Response (QR) code, different positioning of card holder’s PAN and signature among others.
According to a senior Income-Tax Department official, the distribution of new-look PAN cards, being printed by NSDL (National Securities Depository Limited) and UTIITSL (UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Ltd), started on January 1.
The cards are being issued to new applicants, although existing cardholders can also apply for them.
“The distribution of new PAN cards kicked off on January 1. However, these are only for the fresh lot of PAN card applicants,” the official told news agency PTI.
“We have automated the data and made the PAN cards error-free,” he said, adding, “In case existing cardholders apply for a fresh PAN card, they will be issued the newly designed cards.”
Keeping in view the Rajbhasha policy of the Government, we have made fixed contents of the new PAN cards bilingual in which the headers are in English and Hindi, he said.
The Government has added a new feature to the card, known as Quick Response Code, which will help in verification process.
The code will help in providing all details of the cardholder in one go when the document is produced before any authority.
As a result, no room will be left for the cardholder to either tamper or give wrong information relating to the card, the official said.
As far replacement of existing cards is concerned, another official confirmed that the government is not planning to replace all old cards. It is only meant for new PAN card holders, although it will restrict holding double or multiple PAN cards for wrong use.
On January 10, 2017, NSDL also issued a circular informing the Tax Information Network- Facility Centres (TIN-FCs) and PAN centres about the changes in the existing design of PAN cards.
“The specimen of the PAN card has Quick response (QR) code having the details of PAN applicant is printed on the PAN card for enabling verification of the PAN card. Besides, legends have been incorporated for particulars such as name, father’s name and date of birth fields. Also, position of PAN and signature has been also changed,” the circular said.
PAN cards are mandatory for any transaction above Rs 2 lakh and used for other purposes like opening a bank account and as an identity proof.
There are currently more than 25 crore PAN card holders in the country.
According to the Government estimate, around 2.5 crore people across the country apply for PAN cards every year.