The government wants to tighten even further the proposed Budget measure aimed at discouraging black money through restrictions on cash transactions — to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 3 lakh.
The government also plans to make the inclusion of the Aadhaar ID mandatory in applications for permanent account number (PAN) cards. The Aadhaar number will also need to be quoted in income-tax returns from July 1.
These were among 50 amendments moved by the government on Tuesday to give effect to Budget announcements as Parliament took up discussion on the Finance Bill. They are part of the broad sweep of measures against black money, of which November’s demonetisation was another key element. “The penalty for violating this is a fine equivalent to the amount of transaction,” revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia tweeted, referring to the Rs 2 lakh cash limit. For example, if a cash transaction of Rs 4 lakh is uncovered, the penalty will be Rs 4 lakh. The penalty will be levied on the receiver of cash, that is, the seller. The limit will be effective April 1.
The government also proposed to amend the Finance Bill to ensure only cheque payments can be accepted for the purchase of electoral bonds that were outlined in the Budget and that RBI is empowered to authorise banks to accept them.
Jaitley justified the move saying the amendments were all “incidental provisions” related to Budget announcements such as combining tribunals and creating uniform service conditions. The objections were overruled by speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
The measure is expected to impact segments such as real estate, jewellery and high-end luxury that typically have a high cash component. To be sure, some of these have already been hit by the high-value note swap that was announced on November 8 last year.