The Aadhar Card: New Companies Act Filing requirements and Data Security issues in India.

Aadhaar to become compulsory for regulatory filings under the Companies Act    

 

In a significant development to Indian Company Law compliance, the Corporate Affairs Ministry has asked

individual stakeholders, including DIN (Director Identification Number) holders/ Directors/ Key Managerial Personnel to obtain Aadhaar at the earliest for integration of their details with MCA21, the portal through which filings required under the Companies Act are submitted to the Ministry.  The New Indian Express reported that this would help determine the authenticity of individuals and the 8-9 lakh registered companies which did not file annual returns.

Recently, the Government of India, introduced an amendment to the Income Tax Act, making it mandatory for individuals to quote Aadhaar / Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form, for filing of return of income and for making an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number with effect from 1 July 2017.

Does it affect Non-Resident Indian (NRI) and Foreign Directors? 

According  Aadhaar Act 2016, only a resident individual is entitled to obtain Aadhaar and therefore Non-Resident Indians (NRI) are not required to obtain Aadhaar cards as they are not eligible under Section 3(1) of the Act. The Gulf News reported that CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Dr. Pandey had clarified that the relevant government departments are responsible for providing exemption to the NRIs on Aadhaar requirement.

 

 

Indian citizens’ data and digital security

With 1.2 billion Aadhaar card holders, Aadhaar has become one of the largest biometric identification projects in the world. However, concerns have been raised over violation of privacy, identity theft and the possibility of intrusive Government surveillance of residents.

Expansion of services and schemes linked with Aadhaar, raises the possibility of misuse of the Aadhaar information and, at the same time, law limits the scope of the victim to file a complaint and an investigation is possible only on Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) order. The Aadhaar Scheme has 582 banks, brokerages and government departments listed as registered users with access to the data of Aadhaar and no privacy laws protect Indians against the publication of such confidential data.The Economic Times reported, that a government department in April 2017, uploaded the details of a welfare scheme disbursement on the internet, in compliance with transparency norms set by the Right to Information Act, 2005 and citizen’s privacy concerns took a backseat. With increased digitization, citizens are exposed to a greater risk of data theft and it goes beyond the issue of Aadhaar.

A study published by Bengaluru-based Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) on May 1 found that data of over 130 million Aadhaar card holders has been leaked from four government portals. Unaccountability due to lack of Indian laws which provide a stringent data privacy and data protection laws to maintain confidentiality, security and  integrity of data as well as strict laws to punish offenders are glaring loopholes in the existing system.   Following Demonetization, the digital footprint has increased and private sector has increased its spending on security and data protection measures, which has not been the case for government agencies. 

Recently, the Times of India reported that the UIDAI CEO had said, “To say that Aadhaar has been breached, privacy is endangered is incorrect, misleading and even irresponsible,” while arguing that the display of Aadhaar-linked information on websites of government agencies had not led to leakage of biometric information.

According to a 2012 report by the Standing Committee on Finance on this issue, the Government of United Kingdom had repealed its Identity Cards Act, 2006 in 2010, which was very similar to Aadhaar, citing a range of reasons, including high cost, unsafe, untested and unreliable technology, and the changing relationship between the state and the citizen, etc. However in India, there are no signs of any move against Aadhaar these critical issues remain unaddressed. 

 

Lex Meridian provides comprehensive advice and support to Businesses Indian, Foreign Nationals on company formation and all company and commercial law related matters in India and the United Kingdom.

Contact us info@lexmeridian.com  

Non-Resident Indians Alert! June 30 – The Deadline for conversion of the PIO card to OCI card

The Consulate General of India, Toronto and New York has issued a reminder to Non-Resident Indians (NRI) who are  Indo-Canadian and Indian American card holders to convert their PIO (Person of Indian Origin) cards to OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) cards before June 30 2017. The announcements were made in furtherance of the Indian Government’s step for the complete merger of PIO and OCI cards. 

NRI Advocates Delhi and London

The Notification of Indian Government’s Ministry of Home affairs dated 09-January-2015

http://www.hicomind.org.nz/hcinz/assets/ApplicationForms/Gazette-Notification-dated-9-jan-2015.pdf

The merging of the two was to remove the confusion between the PIO and OCI status, which broadly confer similar benefits and to simplify Indian immigration norms by making it easier for overseas Indians to apply for Indian citizenship.

However, the merger allows additional benefits to merged OCI card holders;-

  • PIO card holders previously eligible for 15 years visa, now means that OCI card holders enjoying life long visa free entry to India..
  • Exemption from police reporting.
  • Earlier PIO cards were not allowed to the nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Iran, Nepal and China, now after merging, it is available to the nationals of above countries except Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • To enable for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) by a minor, whose parents or either parents are Indian Citizens.
  • To enable for registration as OCI by a child or a grand-child or a great grand-child of person who has been citizen of India or undivided India at any time.
  • To enable for registration as OCI by such spouse of a citizen of India or spouse of an OCI registered under section 7A and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application under this section with prior security checks by Competent Authority.[1]

    THE OVERSEAS CITIZEN OF INDIA CARD

  • It is not mandatory for the PIO card holders to convert their cards to OCI. But the Ministry of
  • External Affairs website advises conversion to avoid any complications during travel to India

Such steps are welcome making it easier for those eligible for OCI status to travel, education, work and trade in India as well as other benefits.

 

See the Press Release – Extension of date of Merger of PIO and OCI Cards dated December 30, 2016

http://www.mea.gov.in/press-releases.htm?dtl/27935/Extension_of_date_of_Merger_of_PIO_and_OCI_Cards

Reference and more information read:

Canada: Consulate General of India sets June 30 deadline for conversion of PIO to OCI

http://www.indiablooms.com/ibns_new/world-details/USN/11095/canada-consulate-general-of-india-sets-june-30-deadline-for-conversion-of-pio-to-oci.html

Last Date for Converting PIO Cards to OCI Cards Nearing: Deadline June 30

http://www.indiawest.com/news/global_indian/last-date-for-converting-pio-cards-to-oci-cards-nearing/article_e63ac1c4-26c6-11e7-9193-13ca6283f412.html

Special wing of the punjab police to handle complaints from NRI’s

In the past one year complaints from Punjabi NRIs have increased twofold. On the initiative of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Punjab Police introduced a NRI wing aimed at achieving fast track results, which received about 8000 complaints this year as opposed to 3,852 complaints the previous year and the establishment of NRI Courts. Continue reading