Is Aadhaar leading to fear?

Yesterday was July 31st. From July 1 , 2017 I have tried to submit my income tax returns. My understanding on Supreme Court order was “Persons with Aadhaar number need to link Aadhaar number and PAN Number”. On other hand, I I have no Aadhaar number and made attempts to file my income tax returns and was prevented by e-filing portal.

Being a law abiding citizen, I visited income tax camp at Gaythri Vihar at Bangalore. The help desk explained that my tax returns cannot be submitted without Aadhaar. I did  asked to meet income tax commissioner and was lead to a very nice person Commissioner offered me a seat across the table. When i explained my challenge, he showed surprise of not having Aadhaar and neither have plans to apply for Aadhaar and was empathetic.  Felt that he had more meetings with individuals who had issues to link Aadhaar and PAN.

  • On sharing that some folks without Aadhaar number have  uploaded their returns over weekend, he explained that may be possible and added income tax returns of individuals whose PAN was not linked with Aadhaar will not be processed.
  • On sharing  media intimation “Aadhaar not a must to file I-T returns'” by income tax department,  he explained that media had got the communication wrong and they have published correction on Sunday.

When asked how to move forward, He shared that “I ask individuals to get Aadhaar and submit income tax returns. In your case, where  you  have taken a stand and well aware of supreme court case, you may wait to get clarity and decide accordingly. Please understand the current stand of income tax department and things may of may not change.”  He also added ” As I have not additional tax to be paid, he does not see immediate impact other than PAN being invalid by some other govt notification.”

Thanked commissioner and wrote a note in visitor book stating “With supportive folks at income tax camp, I could not file my income returns” and dropped below letter too. IMG_20170731_170454

It was quite easy 3 years back to write this blog “@Field : DBTL and Aadhaar”  as an observer and not impacted party. Today I experienced  impact of not having Aadhaar. In 2017, I am aware of  people who enrolled for Aadhaar with no choice.( did not want to)

  • A bunch of state government staff did not get salaries as they did not have Aadhaar. After staying with no salary for 2 months, they enrolled for Aadhaar with no choice and received salary in arrears in 3rd month.
  • I had a friend who did not have Aadhaar and his daughter goes to college this year. On day of admission, college asked them to provide Aadhaar. On friend’s inquiry, the college explained that there was instruction from UGC and they cannot risk accredition. My friend and his daughter enrolled to Aadhaar with no choice.
  • I have a friend who filed his income tax returns prior to June 20,2017 and escaped being forced to get Aadhaar for filing income tax returns.
  • I informed my wife that she has all rights to get Aadhaar and she went and obtained Aadhaar for her and my daughter.

I found few friends without Aadhaar number, who do not know how they were able to file income tax returns in July 2017.

I want to acknowledge the hidden fear that creeps in me of being left out. Found nice article The right to be left alone and asked myself “Do I have the right to be left alone?” To handle fear, I started to list down what are different avenues that I would be forced so that I would go and enroll.

  • My BSNL connection will be blocked and my airtel connection will be blocked. I can ask my wife to get additional phone account on her name and provide to me.
  • I may not be blocked to book bus ticket and train ticket as single person travel. if I travel with some one with Aadhaar, then I may be able to travel.
  • My wife and I hold joint account. Can my bank account get deactivated, not linked to  Aadhaar? May be my wife  can withdraw and help me with cash for expenses.
  • With no bank account, it is going to be tricky for my company to credit salary to my bank account? May my company would provide me cash to live.
  • With no bank account, my demat and equity trading account gets blocked.  Quite possible and cannot transact in equity and same constraints apply to mutual funds.

In addition to fear about your own self, there is hidden fear about my family. How will l me not having Aadhaar  impact my family and my relationship with them. If I die tomorrow, what is the impact on my family that I do not have Aadhaar. Will they be forced to get Aadhaar?

Should I blame anyone for my situation? I work in IT industry and understand privacy and have been using IT for my living.  I was part of a particular group and wrote article India Stack: Powering thousands of experiments. I do not see reason to blame anyone other than myself.

While I acknowledge fear, I want to end article with question ” Would India  have achieved freedom in 1947 if the freedom fighters succumbed to fear of British? “

 

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