Extends Deadlines and Eases Business Rules Amid Lockdown (Updated)

To soften the devastating impact of Covid-19, the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat package of INR 20 Lakh Crore emphasized on promoting local products and making India self-reliant.

May 12, 2020: After PM Narendra Modi announced the INR 20 Lakh Crore economic stimulus in his address to the nation on Tuesday, the details of the first installment of the package was made public in a press conference chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Key Takeaways from FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s Announcement – Phase 1

  • Relief for the Burdened MSMEs
    • Sub-ordinate debt provision of INR 20,000 crore for 2 lakh MSMEs which are Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) or stressed.
    • INR 3 lakh crore — collateral-free — loans for MSMEs; this move is to directly benefit 45 lakh units and help save jobs and continue operations.
    • Global tenders up to INR 200 crore for government contracts to be disallowed.
    • INR 50,000 crore equity infusion via mother-daughter fund; INR 10,000 corpus for MSMEs to help expand capacity and get listed on markets.
    • E-market linkages to be provided across the board for coronavirus-induced non-participation in trade fairs; PSUs and GOI to clear receivables in the next 1.5 months
    • Definition of MSMEs revised to abet expansion and reduce losses; no distinction between services and manufacturing MSMEs
  • Relief for Microfinance Institutions (MFI), Housing Finance Companies (HFC), Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC)
    • Partial credit guarantee scheme 2.0 amounting to INR 45,000 crores for NBFCs. GOI will act as the guarantor and will bear the first 20% of the losses.
    • Special liquidity scheme of INR 30,000 crores for buying into investment-grade debt paper of MFIs, HCFs, and NBFCs. Scheme fully guaranteed by GOI.
    • States to guarantee one-time emergency liquidity injection amounting to INR 90,000 crore for Power distribution Companies (DISCOMs)
  • Relief for organisations and employees
    • EPF contribution reduced to 10% from 12% for organisations and employees. This move will inject INR 6,750 liquidity into the organisations. However, this will not apply to government organisations.
    • INR 2,500 crore EPF support for EPF establishments; EPF contribution to be paid by the government till August and will directly benefit 72 lakh employees.
  • 6 month-extension without any cost to contractor provided by the Central Government of India agencies, such as Indian Railways, Central Public Works Department, and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • 25% reduction in Tax Collected at Source (TCS) and Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) till 31st March 2021 to release INR 50,000 crores.
  • Regulators in real estate can invoke force majeure once Urban Development releases advisory for States and Union Territories. For projects expiring on or after 25th March 2020, regulatory authorities can extend completion and registration suo-moto (for all registered projects) by 6 months.
  • IT Return filing due date extended from 31 July 2020 to 30 November 2020.
    • Assessment dates getting barred on 30 September 2020 and 31 March 2021 extended to 31 December 2020 and 30 September 2021 respectively.
    • Vivad se Vishwas scheme extended to 31 December 2020. 
    • For non-corporate businesses, professions, proprietorship, LLP, partnership, co-operatives, and charitable trusts all pending refunds to be issued immediately.

    Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces INR 1.7 Lakh Crore package to help

    Govt is ready to amend the regulation of EPF due to this pandemic so that workers can draw up to 75 percent non-refundable advance from credit in PF account or 3 months salary, whichever is lower,” said Sitharaman in her announcement.

    Thursday, 26 March 2020: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces INR 1.7 Lakh Crore package to help the poor tackle the difficulties stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown. As a part of this relief fund, the Government has agreed (amongst other things) to bear the EPF contributions of both the employer and employee (24%) for the coming 3 months. However, only those companies that have less than 100 employees, with at least 90% earning less than INR 15,000 are eligible. This move stands to benefit 4.8 crore employees. 

    The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced a relief package for businesses, big and small, that have been hit hard by the Novel Coronavirus. 

    Now into the second day of the 21-day long lockdown ordered by the Central Government of India to curb the spread of the virus, most businesses have shut their offices and plants. With no end to the virus, crashing markets, and the threat of global recession looming large, the finances of businesses are heading towards a major catastrophe.

    To cope with the pandemic fallout and to address the concerns of businesses and its workers, the FM in her conference, announced economic measures for tax-payers and businesses. What’s more, she also said that an INR 1.7 lakh crore economic package is being readied to help the poor and businesses.

    Here are the key highlights of the relief package.

    1. GST
    • Deadline for filing returns under the composition scheme extended to June 30, 2020
    • No penalties, interest, or late fee for businesses with turnover less than INR 5 Crore
    • Deadline for March, April, and May GST returns filing extended to June 30, 2020
    • No late fee or penalty for companies for the first 15 days with more than INR 5 Crore turnover. However, the interest to be charged at a reduced rate of 9%
    1. Income Tax
    • Deadline for filing Income Tax Return for FY 2018-19 extended to 30th June 2020
    • The interest for delayed payments made till 30th June reduced from 12% to 9%
    • Interest rate brought down from 18% to 9% for late TDS deposits
    • Dues date for all compliances under the Income Tax Act, Benami Transaction Act, Wealth Tax Act, Vivaad se Vishwaas, Black Money Act, etc. have been extended to 30th June 2020
    • The last date for linking of Aadhaar & PAN is now extended to June 30 from March 31
    • Without an additional payment of 10%, the Vivaad se Vishwaas scheme is now extended to June 30
    1. For Businesses-related matters
    • Moratorium issued from 01-04-2020 to 30-09-2020 for MCA-21 registry with no additional fees for late filing
    • 60 days relaxation for the next two quarters for mandatory board meetings
    • Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 (Caro 2020) now applicable from FY 2020-21
    • Not a violation for any company director with minimum residency less than 182 days
    • 6 more months for newly incorporated companies to file commencement of business report
    • Deadline for the investment of 15% of maturing debentures extended from 30th April to 30th June
    1. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC)
    • Default threshold raised from INR 1 lakh to INR 1 Crore to prevent triggering of insolvency proceedings for MSMEs
    • FM to observe; if the situation persists after 30th April, SEctions 7,9,10 of the IBC to be suspended to prevent businesses from entering insolvency proceedings
    1. Customs and Central Excise
    • Sabka Vishwas Scheme with zero interest extended to 30th June 2020
    • Customs Clearance declared an essential service and to remain functional 24×7 up to 30th June 2020

    Apart from the above, the economic relief also offers relaxation under financial services such as reduction of digital charges for trade transactions and withdrawal of cash at any ATM without drawing additional charges.

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