Aadhaar will provide a strong web of security to the buyer and seller & this will curb benami properties
The twelve digit number is set to become the most important identity of residents of India, with Aadhaar becoming linked to everything from PAN, bank account, mobile number and even the financial market and real estate market transactions. It is believed that in order to put a check on benami deals, the government is making it mandatory to include Aadhaar during the registration of the documents, related to the property deal. Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Chief Executive Officer of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has played a key role in drafting of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, and Regulations for implementation of Aadhaar Act.
Namrata Kohli speaks to Dr AB Pandey, CEO UIDAI on how Aadhaar is set to become the gatekeeper of the Indian real estate industry. Edited excerpts:
Is it true that in times to come, for buying and selling, property registrations, Aadhaar will become mandatory?
Registration of property is not yet directly linked with Aadhaar but to make the payment, it has to be done through a bank account which is already linked to your Aadhaar card. Any real estate transaction requires you to produce your PAN number which again is linked to Aadhaar. Thus, there are multiple layers of checks weaved into the system and once every PAN Card in the country is linked with Aadhaar, it will deter black money hoarders from skipping tax, and real estate market will become transparent.
I feel the use of Aadhaar in property registration will tremendously help and protect the interest of both parties i.e. the buyer and the seller. We have seen in the past a number of instances of one impersonating the other and the buyer having to suffer a lifetime in litigations. The owner of property will have mental peace and safety as his property cannot be now sold through deceit. This is the strong web of security that Aadhar can provide to both the buyer and seller and this will eventually curb benami properties.
What is the coverage of the Aadhaar card in India?
The total coverage so far has been 116 crore. And our target is to cover the full population of approx. 130 crore. We have covered 90% of the current total population of India and 99% of the adult population. Except areas of North East, Jammu and Kashmir, we have done the rest. We are trying to cover infants, young adults, school children and aiming for complete coverage of everyone in the country. For the new born, before they get their birth certificate, they will get Aadhaar. In the case of infants, the fingerprints as well as Aadhaar card of parents will be considered. When the child turns five, his biometrics are taken. Besides, we have a facility to “update” as well because over the lifetime of a person many things change, such as the photographs, the names (particularly of women), residential address etc. We will soon have Aadhaar centres inside banks and post offices for updation.
While Aadhaar was perceived as an important document for a citizen of India, it is now becoming from being purely voluntary by nature to becoming mandatory for any Indian citizen.
The enrolment in Aadhaar is strictly voluntary as per the Aadhaar act. But I must qualify my statement with the fact that today agencies, departments, and the government require Aadhaar for essential services. Everyone has a right to get Aadhaar and they must insist on getting it.
It’s like the right to education – it is not mandatory but there are obvious benefits.
Yes, it is true that Aadhaar must be linked to your PAN card, bank account and mobile phone numbers. Every telecom provider and all SIM cards will register Aadhaar and the deadline for this is February 2018.
Aadhaar has also become the gatekeeper to Dalal street. We understand that the government and SEBI are planning to link Aadhaar to financial market transactions and make it a compulsory document to buy shares and mutual funds?
Yes, it is true that the government amended the Prevention of Money Laundering Rules and now Aadhaar and PAN card are important for any financial market transactions. This is in the interest of everyone.
There are many instances of duplication of PAN cards in India. Permanent account number may not be enough to plug tax leaks. What are the safeguards being deployed by UIDAI to ensure that at least the Aadhar card is not replicated?
Aadhaar is based on biometrics. It is much harder for one person to have two Aadhaar cards. The vision of Aadhaar is that every resident of India be empowered with a unique identity which is non-replicable, seamless, real time and which allows them to avail services.
What about tracking transactions by NRIs and foreigners? How does one keep track of the money entering the real estate industry by these entities who do not have an Aadhaar card currently?
Aadhaar card is strictly for the residents of India. It is applicable for those people who have lived in India for a minimum of 182 days in a year. For NRIs, may be some other concerned ministry department will take action.
Ajay Bhushan Pandey