The Indian government is directing all its citizens to merge Aadhaar cards with their PAN numbers and has extended the deadline to 30 June, 2023 amid reports of users experiencing issues with linking up matching demographic data from the two documents. In an official tweet the Income Tax Department said that biometric authentication would be relied on in the occurrence of mismatching demographics, with collection at physical centres run by PAN Service Providers.

The statement read that key identifiers such as name, date of birth and gender may be mismatching due to information being recorded differently or incorrectly between the ID card and a permanent account number.

The income tax PAN and its associated card are issued under section 139A of the Indian Income Tax Act. The government is again extending the deadline until 30, June 2023 for citizens to complete connecting the PAN with Aadhaar cards, after which the PAN will be discontinued from use. Not applicable to non-resident nationals, the PAN taken out of operation will have an impact on residents no longer being able to submit income tax returns or make NSE or BSE transactions.

The Aadhaar or UIDAI, the mandatory 12-digit unique identification number used across anywhere in India, is India’s default national ID issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India on behalf of the Government of India.

Leveraged by 1.3 billion citizens, acceptance of the Aadhaar digital identification system exploded Financial Times figures show, as India demonstrated how quickly they could adapt to online during the pandemic, creating unparalleled headway in digital payments. The immersive use and popularity of Aadhaar has replaced the need for PAN – another payment card numberas a proof of identity to create bank accounts (94% of Aadhaar holders) and facilitate financial services. India now accounts for 36% of global transactions each year, enabled by the biometric ID system which assigns every cardholder a 12-digital unique identifier number.

Nandan Nilekani, a chief architect of Aadhaar is quoted by the Financial Times: “Aadhaar has laid the foundations for the digital transformation of the entire society”.

95% of adults and 75% of children have Aadhaar and report to use it on average once a month. Aadhaar is now India’s most ubiquitous default ID with higher enrolment levels than voter ID across the states.

Only 4% of citizens report that the information on their Aadhaar card is incorrect, however the deadline extension is to allow for such cases where information either on Aadhaar or PAN is mismatching. The error rate of mobile numbers, which are non-visible on the card, affected 5% of card holders over 15 years old. While up to 40% of citizens correct their card information, one in five fail as the process is deemed difficult and cumbersome.

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