A senior Income Tax department official, quoting latest data, said a total of 24,37,96,693 PAN card numbers have been allotted till now across the country even as the department has enhanced capabilities of various utilities to allot more and more of such unique IT-issued identity to applicants.

Government had late last year made quoting of PAN mandatory for all transactions, including purchase of jewellery, above Rs 2 lakh from the beginning of this year apart from certain categories of economic deals.

The effort to popularise the usage of PAN in financial transactions, the CBDT had said, is "expected to be useful in widening the tax net by non-intrusive methods.''

They (new PAN rules) are also expected to help in curbing black money and move towards a cashless economy," the Central Board of Direct Taxes had said.

Government has also brought out new measures for faster registration of new PAN applications by individuals and entities by allowing a special window in the official e-business portal for making an application and allowing digital signatures as the new facility to obtain this unique identity.

PAN is a ten-digit alphanumeric number issued in the form of a laminated card by the IT department to any person, firm or entity.

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