KATHMANDU, July 15: Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has said that it was positive about providing Permanent Account Number (PAN) to Indian laborers employed by Nepali construction sector.
An official of the IRD, however, said that coordination of Federation of Contractors’ Associations of Nepal (FCAN) was a must for such arrangement.
“We can provide PAN to Indian laborers across the country. For that to happen, district chapters of FCAN have to work in coordination with us,” Yagya Prashad Dhungel, deputy director general of the IRD, told Republica. “We can mobilize our teams to distribute PAN to Indian laborers employed in the construction industry.”
According to the IRD, Indian nationals can get PAN upon submission of their national identity card (Ration card or Voter ID card), letter from the Embassy of India in Nepal and the recommendation letter from their employer.
“We have already been mobilizing teams to distribute PAN to Nepali citizens throughout the country from past two years,” he said, adding: “We can send our teams to places where number of Indian laborers is high or where there is demand.”
Dhungel further added that Indian laborers are not required to come to Kathmandu to apply for PAN.
As the government has made PAN mandatory for all salaried workers from upcoming fiscal year 2019/2020, which begins from mid-July, construction sector – one of the major employers of Indian laborers in Nepal – was in a dilemma over implementation of the fresh provision. Many construction entrepreneurs even do not know whether Indian laborers can obtain PAN in Nepal.
There is no authentic data of Indian nationals working in Nepal. As Nepal shares open border with India, stakeholders say factories, construction companies, hotels and trading sectors employ huge number of Indian workers.
“At a time when very few Nepali laborers have PAN card, we can say most of these Indian nationals do not have Nepali PAN card,” Rabi Singh, president of FAN, said. “I haven’t found a single Nepali laborer that has PAN card.”
Construction entrepreneurs say they prefer Indian laborers because of their punctuality and dedication toward work. “Nepalese are not much interested to do such work in their homeland. Even though some are working here, they don’t have long-term plans here. Most of them want to go overseas,” he added.
While it is said that Nepali workers are not interested in labor-intensive work because of low wage, Singh said that it is not the matter of wages only. “We pay daily wage of up to Rs 1,000-1,100,” he added.
Singh said construction entrepreneurs will work in coordination with the IRD to obtain PAN card for their Indian laborers. “We can provide all the documents required by the IRD. But it will be difficult for construction entrepreneurs based outside Kathmandu Valley to obtain letter from Indian Embassy,” he added.