Odisha seeks PAN card exemption for tribals’ deposits

Bhubaneswar, Nov 18 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exempt people living in scheduled areas from furnishing PAN card numbers for depositing Rs 50,000 in banks.

“Subsequent to the Centre’s demonetisation, a directive to banks for insisting on PAN (Permanent Account Number) for deposits of more than Rs 50,000 is putting tribal families to extreme hardship,” the Chief Minister said in a letter to Modi.

After demonetisation of high-value currency, the Reserve Bank of India maintained that anybody depositing more than Rs 50,000 in cash in their bank accounts has to submit a copy of his/her PAN card in case the bank account is not seeded with PAN.

Patnaik said 23 per cent of Odisha’s population comes under the Scheduled Tribes category residing mostly in 44 per cent of the state’s area.

He said tribals traditionally keep their income and savings at home. Due to poor presence of banks in scheduled areas, a large majority are not used to the banking system, Patnaik said.

He said 4,400 out of 6,500 gram panchayats in Odisha do not have scheduled banks, adding a large majority of these fall in scheduled areas.

In fact, almost 90 per cent of them do not have PAN cards, he added.

“Lack of banks in these areas is forcing people to travel to far-off places to make deposits. In case of higher deposits, not having a PAN card is a huge cause of concern. All this has put people living in scheduled areas to immense hardship,” the Chief Minister said.

–IANS

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