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Biometric PAN Cards are Here

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Biometric permanent account number (PAN) cards that capture their fingerprints and facial features are going to become a regular feature for taxpayers soon.

The development has elicited huge response from the country's top information technology companies have shown great interest in the development. Along with the card, there are plans to spruce up the PAN issuance infrastructure. Bidders have been asked to ensure that they set up points of service for 10 hours a day, six days a week. The tax department also wants the service provider to ensure that new PAN cards are issued within 20 days. At least Infosys, HCL, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and its subsidiary CMC have shown keenness to develop a biometric card and the infrastructure that can handle 12 million new users annually.Others shortlisted for the request-for-proposal (RFP) stage include Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), ITI and Bharat Electronics (BEL).

The proposed system is being designed to handle 70 million PAN records and handle 100,000 applications a day. There is, however, no clarity on who would bear the cost of the card, which at present costs Rs 67.

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