Aadhaar may be made mandatory for tax filing, food subsidy

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In a renewed thrust on Aadhaar, the government plans to make the unique identity number mandatory for food subsidy and tax filing.

The government is “actively” discussing possible amendments to the Income Tax Act in order to make Aadhaar linkage compulsory for I-T filings beginning FY18, Business Standard reported on Friday. Besides, a plan to ensure Aadhaar numbers are linked to account holders’ bank accounts by end of March 2017 in also under the works, according to the report.

Also, Aadhaar-based authentication of beneficiaries to avail benefits of public distribution system (PDS) may be made mandatory. The decision was taken in a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office was taken in May, according to the report.

Separately, Mint reported on Friday that the Centre’s implementation of Aadhaar-linkage for food subsidy would be similar to implementation made in government’s employment guarantee scheme. “We are very close to making Aadhaar mandatory under PDS just as it has been done in schemes like MGNREGA,” the paper quoted Food Secretary Preeti Sudan as saying to state government officials at a national conference on PDS reforms on Thursday.

At Rs 1.4 lakh crore cost, the PDS is pegged as the largest subsidy programme in the country benefiting over 800 million citizens.