Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on friday asked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exempt the provision of PAN Card number for people belonging to Scheduled Areas of Odisha for bank deposits beyond Rs 50,000. “I would request your good office to kindly exempt the Scheduled Area of our state from the insistence on PAN Card number for deposits above Rs 50,000. This shall save people from repeated visits to the banks which they are forced to undertake at present,” Patnaik wrote in the letter to the Prime Minister.
Exemption of PAN Card numbers on deposit above Rs 50,000 would also mean less crowd in banks, making their operations smoother, Patnaik said. “This decision is crucial for mitigating the undue hardship to the people living in Scheduled Areas of our state, most of whom belong to tribal communities,” he said.
Stating that 23 per cent of the state’s population belonged to the Scheduled Tribe category residing mostly in 44 per cent of area, Patnaik said tribal people traditionally keep their income and savings in their homes. “Due to poor presence of banks in the scheduled areas, a large majority of them are not used to banking system,” Patnaik wrote in the letter, adding, even today out of 6,500 odd Gram Panchayats (GPs), almost 4,400 GPs have no presence of scheduled banks. A large majority of these un-serviced GPs fall in the Scheduled Areas, inhabited primarily by the Scheduled Tribe communities. In fact, almost 90 per cent of them do not have PAN cards, Patnaik said.
Subsequent to the demonetisation steps taken by the Centre, the recent directives to banks for insisting on PAN Card numbers for deposits of more than Rs 50,000 was putting tribal families to extreme hardship, Patnaik said. “Due to withdrawal of the legal tender of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, they are now forced to deposit their legitimate earnings in banks. Lack of banks in these areas is forcing people to travel far off distances to make their deposits and 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,” Patnaik added.