Aadhaar May Become the Gatekeeper to D Street Soon
Govt, Sebi planning to link unique ID to fin market transactions to curb malpractices
Mumbai: Aadhaar may soon become mandatory for buying shares and mutual funds. The govern- ment and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) are planning to link Aadhaar to financial market transactions to try and curb sharp practices such as conversion of black money into white through the stock market.
Two people familiar with the development said the government has realised that the permanent account number (PAN) may not be enough to plug tax leaks.
Top Sebi officials have informally sounded out select market intermediaries about the possibility of linking Aadhaar to financial currently not mandatory for financial market transactions curbing fraudulent stock market activities
market transactions, a top official with a financial services firm familiar with the development said. “We have been told that making Aadhaar compulsory is in the of- used for online KYC in mutual fund investments of clarity whether Aadhaar Card will replace PAN
fing,” the official said. The timing of the move is still unclear. It is also not clear whether Aadhaar will replace PAN as the sole identification number for financial market mandated Aadhaar be linked to PAN, bank accounts and mobile phone numbers transactions. The government recently mandated that Aadhaar, launched in 2009 by the UPA government, be linked to PAN, bank accounts and mobile phone numbers. The deadline for existing bank account holders to provide their Aadhaar details is December 31. The unique ID can be used for conducting the mandatory knowyour-client (KYC) check for mutual fund transactions online. In online KYC — known as e-KYC — done with Aadhaar, MF investors do not need to go to fund houses to submit their forms and get their signatures identified in person.
Some stock brokers have been asking the regulator to get the government to extend e-KYC to their industry. Brokers said mandatory Aadhaar could play a key role in weeding out some of the ills of the stock market. “Linking financial market transactions to Aadhaar will be an important step to make India a corruptionfree country,” said Nirmal Jain, chairman, IIFL Group.
Market participants said that PAN, though unique for every individual for incometax assessment, has not been successful in preventing individuals from using the stock market for money laundering. Brokers say mul- tiple PANs and fake demat accounts are still being used to push illegal money into the stock market.
Jain said the government should make Aadhaar the single identification document. “It is important that the government replaces PAN and other identification documents with Aadhaar in financial markets and all other services to make it convenient for people,” he added. “For some of the regional players, the bigger worry is how many clients will remain once Aadhaar is made mandatory. There will certainly be a dip in activity even in IPO market but that will be temporary,” said the CEO of a brokerage who did not wish to be identified.