Chidambaram reiterates promise on biometric PAN cards

June 9th, 2008 - 10:51 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Monday reiterated his promise to introduce biometric permanent account number (PAN) cards to the income tax payers. Initially, these will be issued only to new applicants. “The move is on to introduce biometric PAN cards. Certain details and features have already been finalised, and other requirements like what biometric measure should be used in the new card are being worked out,” Chidambaram told reporters here Monday after he addressed a meeting of senior income tax officials.

Chidambaram first mooted the idea to issue biometric PAN cards in 2006. The new card was to be issued by the end of 2007, but this could not be done because of the delay in deciding what features the card should carry.

The finance minister said there would not be much delay in issuing the new cards, and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) was in the process of inviting tenders for these biometric PAN cards.

The proposed cards are likely to have better security features than the existing ones and their duplication would be difficult, as the “biometric PAN card will have the card holder’s fingerprint or retina impression”.

The biometric card is likely to cost Rs.200 to Rs.300 against Rs.60 that an existing card costs. The old cards, however, will be valid, but the holders would have to replace them.

“Biometrics is the mapping of specific areas of the human body to generate a unique signature for each person. The earliest and most widespread use of biometrics was in fingerprinting,” said an income tax department official.

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