Follow Us:

Economic package soon, ATM withdrawals free for 3 months: Sitharaman announces COVID-19 relief measures

Aadhaar-PAN linking date has been extended to June 30, 2020. Earlier the deadline for Aadhaar-PAN linking was March 31, 2020.

SNS | New Delhi |

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said work is going on and the Government is very close to coming up with an economic relief package that will be announced soon amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We have come up with a comprehensive plan about statutory and regulatory compliance matters,” said Sitharaman during a media presser on Tuesday.

“The lockdown has been done with an intention of flattening that curve of coronavirus’ spread. Therefore, I must appreciate you all for joining us today. We are close to coming up with an economic package, which will be announced soon,” she added.

The Finance Minister further announced that the last date for income tax returns for the financial year 2018-19 has been extended from March 31 to June 30. She said she will be making announcements on income tax, customs, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)-related matters, bank-related compliances, fisheries, among other things. She added that for the delayed payments, interest rate has been reduced from 12 percent to 9 percent.

Aadhaar-PAN linking date has been extended to June 30, 2020. Earlier the deadline for Aadhaar-PAN linking was March 31, 2020.

Sitharaman also said the interest rate on delayed deposit of TDS has been reduced. No extra 10 percent interest will be charged between now and 30 June, the minister said.

“Interests for delayed deposit of TDS reduced to 9% from 18%,” said Sitharaman.

The last date for filing March, April and May 2020 GST returns has been extended to June 30, 2020. She added that different staggering dates will be applicable, but all will be the end of June. The interest rate for filing a delayed return has also been brought down.

The finance minister further announced that no interest, penalty and late fee will be charged for companies with a turnover of less than Rs 5 crore. she announced that the interest rate for such companies has been reduced to 9 percent.

The Government also announced that the payment date under the ‘Sabka Vishwas’ scheme, which was for settling disputes in the indirect tax regime, has been extended till June 30, 2020.

In a major relief to imports/exporters, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said customs clearance is now an essential service till June 30, 2020 and will be working 24/7.

Mandatory requirement of holding board meetings has been relaxed by a period of 60 days and this relaxation is for the next two quarters.

For the newly incorporated companies, extra six months have been granted to file declaration.

Sitharaman announced that the threshold of default has been extended to Rs 1 core from existing Rs 1 lakh, in order to prevent insolvency proceedings against MSMEs.

The Government is considering suspending Section 7, 9 and 10 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), at a later stage, if the current situation continues beyond six months.

Meanwhile, for fisheries, the finance minister said a one-month delay will be condoned in the arrival of the consignment of fisheries. Import permits for fisheries expiring in April have been extended by three months.

In a major relief for the general public, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said debit cardholders who withdraw from ATMs can do it free of charge, from any bank’s ATM, for the next three months. There shall not be any minimum balance requirement fee in bank accounts, the minister noted.

Meanwhile, bank charges have been reduced for digital trade and transactions.

As the briefing came to a close, Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated that an economic relief package will be announced “sooner”, rather than later.

“We are closely monitoring the situation. SEBI has come up with guidelines and stated its position on the recent volatility. We are monitoring the stock market,” she added.

The relief measures come as a majority of India has gone under complete lockdown to arrest the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.