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Thursday, August 10, 2017

What is the eligibility criteria to apply for Aadhaar – Here's all you should know

NDA Government's amendments regarding Aadhaar has raised its importance from just being an ID card. It is as important as filing your tax-return or having PAN while it has been made mandatory by law. Whether one is eligible to apply for Aadhaar, has created a lot of confusion among people as amendments in the last Budget have made financial survival without it, tough. Moreover, law regarding Aadhaar and linking to PAN is only applicable for those who are Indian residents as per the Aadhaar Act.
Under the section 139AA in Income Tax Act, the Budget presented earlier this year has made it mandatory to quote your Aadhaar number and Aadhaar enrollment ID (if you have applied for Aadhaar and haven't received it yet) while filing ITR or applying for PAN. Even if you don't file your ITR, it has become necessary to link your Aadhaar with PAN.
Well, amidst this disruption, the question arises- who is eligible to apply for Aadhaar? Can Non-resident Indians(NRIs) or Foreign nationals residing here apply for Aadhaar?
According to Aadhaar Act 2016- 'Every resident shall be entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number by submitting his demographic information and biometric information by undergoing the process of date of application.' Further the Act defines residency as- 'An individual who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to 182 days or more in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of the application for enrollment.'
In other words, if an NRI or foreign national has stayed in India for more than 182 days, he/she will be eligible to apply for Aadhaar. Although, the Act does not specifically mentions, if the date of arrival or departure is taken into consideration or half day is taken into consideration while accounting minimum number of days required to stay in India.
The Aadhaar act has clarified- 'Even if you're holding an Aadhaar or applied for one it, does not mean that you have gained Indian citizenship.'
To remind you, Aadhaar number is just a random number that has no relation to any personal details of the person.
Gradually, Aadhaar is becoming essential for certain actions like- doing bank transactions above Rs 50,000, availing benefits under government social security and subsidy schemes.
Additionally, Central Board of Direct Taxes has exempted certain groups of individuals in its notification dated May 11, 2017, provided they do not hold Aadhaar or haven't even applied for it. The categories are:
  • Non - Resident Indians (NRI) as per Income Tax Laws
  • Not a citizen of India
  • Age more than 80 years or more at any time during the tax year
  • Residents of states of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu & Kashmir
If in case the residency status of an individual changes in a particular tax year, then he/she will be required to mention Aadhaar number for filing ITR.
The Indian apex court has ordered relief for only those who have PAN but not Aadhaar regarding linkage of PAN and Aadhaar.

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