Okay, we diversify again but there is a lot of interesting information that’s surfacing in the last few weeks which has economic relevance so we thought we would bring it to your notice. The number of Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) issued by India’s Income Tax Department is now at 121 million. This figure stood at 95 million last year and 80 million in 2009. But the number of people who are filing returns on their income is not commensurate. It’s roughly a third to a fourth and the absolute number has remained consistent. Have a look.

PAN CArd vs Actual Returns Filed

With PAN cards becoming compulsory (including for various pensions schemes and such), the issuance rate is obviously going up but that’s not matching with the number of people filing returns. And amazingly (as often has been pointed out) in a nation with 1.2 billion people, only 34 million are actually filing returns.

Interestingly, by the Government’s own admission, some 1.1 m multiple PAN cards have been detected and deleted. The general belief is that the number of duplicate PAN cards floating around is high or higher. The detection and deletion is a good first step though.

(In case you are wondering, the Bollywood actor featured here was recently charged with evading taxes. Her residences were raided too.)