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COVID 19: Govt announces relief measures to keep economy stable

While assuring that there is no economic emergency because of COVID 19, Sitharaman announced a slew of relief measures to rein in the economy
New Delhi: While assuring that there is no economic emergency in the country because of COVID 19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of measures on Tuesday for extension of statutory and regulatory compliances to rein in the economy which is currently come to a standstill. She added that the economic task force will soon announce an economic relief package to deal with the impact of COVID 19 outbreak on the economy. Here are some key announcements:

Financial Services

  • Debit cardholders who withdraw cash from any bank ATM can do it free of any charge for the next three months. The measure has been taken to ease the burden on customers who need urgent cash and avoid overcrowding of bank branches to prevent COVID 19 infection.
  • There will be no charges on not keeping the minimum balance requirement. The country’s largest lender, State Bank of India, had already waived the requirement of holding a minimum balance in the savings account.
  • Reduced digital charges for trade transactions.
  • For Financial year 2018-19, the last date for returns extended to June 30, 2020. For delayed payments made till June 30, interest rate reduced to 9 percent from 12 percent.
  • For delayed deposit of TDS, interest has been reduced to 9 percent from 18 percent.
  • Aadhaar-pan linking extended to June 30 from March 31.
  • Vivaad se Vishwaas scheme extended to June 30. And no additional payment of 10 percent to be paid.
  • All compliances under the Income Tax Act, Wealth Tax Act, Benami Transaction Act, Black Money Act, Vivaad se Vishwaas, have been extended to June 30, 2020.

GST

  • All GST returns for March, April, May and composition returns extended to June 30, 2020.
  • For companies less than Rs 5 cr, no late fee and penalty to be charged. For above Rs 5 cr, only interest at the rate of 9 percent.

Customs

  • Sabka Vishwaas scheme for indirect taxes, the last date for which was till March 31, has been extended to June 30, 2020. No interest to be levied.
  • Customs clearance till June 30 to work 24x7.

Companies

  • In respect of the MCA21 registry, there is a moratorium being issued from April 1 till September 30. No additional fees to be levied for late filing.
  • There is a mandatory requirement for holding a board meeting. We are relaxing it for 60 days for the next two quarters.
  • For newly incorporated companies, an additional time of six more months is being given for filing declaration of commencement of business.
  • If there is a company director who does not comply with a minimum residency requirement of 182 days, this used to be treated like a violation. It shall not be treated as one.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

  • The threshold of default is Rs 1 lakh, as of now. From Rs 1 lakh, it is being raised to Rs 1 crore to prevent the triggering of insolvency proceedings for SMEs.
  • If the situation continues like this beyond April, then Section 7, 9, 10 of the IBC will be suspended for a period of six months.