uid

When I opposed Aadhaar in 2010 , I was called a BJP stooge. In 2016 I am still opposing Aadhaar for the same reasons and I am told I am a Congress die hard. No one wants to see why I oppose Aadhaar as it is too difficult. Plus Aadhaar is FREE so why not get one ? Ram Krishnaswamy

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -Mahatma Gandhi

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. Mahatma Gandhi

“The invasion of privacy is of no consequence because privacy is not a fundamental right and has no meaning under Article 21. The right to privacy is not a guaranteed under the constitution, because privacy is not a fundamental right.” Article 21 of the Indian constitution refers to the right to life and liberty -Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

“There is merit in the complaints. You are unwittingly allowing snooping, harassment and commercial exploitation. The information about an individual obtained by the UIDAI while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose, save as above, except as may be directed by a court for the purpose of criminal investigation.” -A three judge bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar said in an interim order.

Legal scholar Usha Ramanathan describes UID as an inverse of sunshine laws like the Right to Information. While the RTI makes the state transparent to the citizen, the UID does the inverse: it makes the citizen transparent to the state, she says.

Good idea gone bad
I have written earlier that UID/Aadhaar was a poorly designed, unreliable and expensive solution to the really good idea of providing national identification for over a billion Indians. My petition contends that UID in its current form violates the right to privacy of a citizen, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. This is because sensitive biometric and demographic information of citizens are with enrolment agencies, registrars and sub-registrars who have no legal liability for any misuse of this data. This petition has opened up the larger discussion on privacy rights for Indians. The current Article 21 interpretation by the Supreme Court was done decades ago, before the advent of internet and today’s technology and all the new privacy challenges that have arisen as a consequence.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP Rajya Sabha

“What is Aadhaar? There is enormous confusion. That Aadhaar will identify people who are entitled for subsidy. No. Aadhaar doesn’t determine who is eligible and who isn’t,” Jairam Ramesh

But Aadhaar has been mythologised during the previous government by its creators into some technology super force that will transform governance in a miraculous manner. I even read an article recently that compared Aadhaar to some revolution and quoted a 1930s historian, Will Durant. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha MP

“I know you will say that it is not mandatory. But, it is compulsorily mandatorily voluntary,” Jairam Ramesh, Rajya Saba April 2017.

August 24, 2017: The nine-judge Constitution Bench rules that right to privacy is “intrinsic to life and liberty” and is inherently protected under the various fundamental freedoms enshrined under Part III of the Indian Constitution

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the World; indeed it's the only thing that ever has"

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” - Edward Snowden

Special

Here is what the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, which examined the draft N I A Bill said.

1. There is no feasibility study of the project]

2. The project was approved in haste

3. The system has far-reaching consequences for national security

4. The project is directionless with no clarity of purpose

5. It is built on unreliable and untested technology

6. The exercise becomes futile in case the project does not continue beyond the present number of 200 million enrolments

7. There is lack of coordination and difference of views between various departments and ministries of government on the project

Quotes

What was said before the elections:

NPR & UID aiding Aliens – Narendra Modi

"I don't agree to Nandan Nilekeni and his madcap (UID) scheme which he is trying to promote," Senior BJP Leader Yashwant Sinha, Sept 2012

"All we have to show for the hundreds of thousands of crore spent on Aadhar is a Congress ticket for Nilekani" Yashwant Sinha.(27/02/2014)

TV Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer and head of human resources, tweeted: "selling his soul for power; made his money in the company wedded to meritocracy." Money Life Article

Nilekani’s reporting structure is unprecedented in history; he reports directly to the Prime Minister, thus bypassing all checks and balances in government - Home Minister Chidambaram

To refer to Aadhaar as an anti corruption tool despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is mystifying. That it is now officially a Rs.50,000 Crores solution searching for an explanation is also without any doubt. -- Statement by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP & Member, Standing Committee on Finance

Finance minister P Chidambaram’s statement, in an exit interview to this newspaper, that Aadhaar needs to be re-thought completely is probably the last nail in its coffin. :-) Financial Express

The Rural Development Ministry headed by Jairam Ramesh created a road Block and refused to make Aadhaar mandatory for making wage payment to people enrolled under the world’s largest social security scheme NRGA unless all residents are covered.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

11209 - Cash deposits above Rs 2L to be disclosed in ITR forms - Deccan Herald

Cash deposits above Rs 2L to be disclosed in ITR forms

Chetan Chandak, Apr 30 2017, 23:58 IST


The government’s war against black money is finding its expression in every reform that it makes. The recent being the introduction of the new one-page ITR forms. Where these forms are making it way easier for taxpayers to file their returns than before, it also seeks details of cash deposits of more than Rs 2 lakh made during the demonetisation period. Taxpayers will now have to give details about the money (more than Rs 2 lakh) deposited between November 9 and December 30. Part E of the form will have columns for these details to be filled up by the taxpayer. 

The intention as specified by the government is only to collect data for the cash deposited by individuals and that they do not intend to send any notices to anyone through this exercise. The government has also clarified that they will not question any individual depositing cash below Rs 2.5 lakh during that period.

The intention of the government behind this can be manifold since it will generate a lot of database. 

Some of the possible areas of generating useful information can be as follows: 

Aggregation of all the amounts deposited across all bank accounts

This information will give the aggregate amount of cash deposited in all the accounts of an individual including the accounts where the taxpayer’s PAN is not registered. Hence, all the accounts that are not yet mapped to PAN numbers will be disclosed in the ITR form. 

To identify all those taxpayers who have deposited cash of more than Rs 2.5 lakh

Secondly, its main intention can be to identify those taxpayers who have deposited cash in excess of Rs 2.5 lakh during the demonetisation period. The tax department will try to reconcile the treatment of these deposits in the tax return and check whether the taxpayer has offered it under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (paying 50% taxes and depositing 25% in the scheme) or has given some different treatment.
In case the tax department identifies that the taxpayer has failed to disclose it in the tax return or has offered it under the normal provisions of the act and paid the taxes accordingly as per the normal rate, it will further investigate into the reasonability of such treatment. If the taxpayer fails to provide proper justification, he may have to pay tax @60% + surcharge @25% of such tax along with education cess @3% totaling to 77.25%. In addition tothis he may also be subjected to penalty of 10% and prosecution under The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016. 

The only way to avoid this penalty isto disclose the details of cash deposited during the demonetization period in the tax return. Further if the source of these cash deposits cannot be explained then offering it under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna as discussed above is a safe option. 

The government with all these measures is making sure that there is minimum hassle to even those who might have huge reserves of black money by taking advantage of the schemes. 

Apart from this, the new ITR forms have some more new fields that are marked mandatory like quoting of the 12 digit Aadhaar enrolment number. This will also help in tracking those who have not enrolled for Aadhaar. Statistics reveal that although 111 crore people in India are already enrolled under Aadhaar, there are only 25 crore PAN card holders. 

Government tax reforms in the recent times are all aimed at better compliance at the same time making sure that their intention to eradicate black money from the system is fulfilled. Although these measures might seem tedious for the common man at large there are larger benefits in these that will help make lives easier for everyone. 

(The writer is Head of Tax Research, H&R Block India)