The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday appealed to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for relief measures for the trade and industry to revive their businesses during the second wave of the COVID-19.
The local chapter of the Chamber, while making this appeal, said the Finance Act 2017 ruled that no person shall receive an amount of Rs 2 lakh or more from a person in a day in respect of a single transaction otherwise than by an account payee cheque or draft or other electronic mode.
This came into effect from April 2017, and now this law is being tested under unprecedented circumstances, the chamber said.
The Act provides for the Central government to relax to such class of persons or receipts as they deem fit from the rigours of the provisons, it said.
In this pandemic time, the chamber said, hospitals insist on advance payment through electronic mode from the COVID-19 patients.
The families of the patients depend on friends and relatives to support them through electronic transfer of funds, it said.
Further, there are families where the husband is in a serious condition while the wife or other members of the family are not in a position to carry out electronic transfer of funds to hospitals, the chamber said.
Therefore, it said, the Centre should come out with a notification immediately to address this difficult situation and relax the compliance with the provision.
The chamber president C Subramanian, in a statement, said the rates of TDS be reduced by 25 per cent of the prescribed rates as in the first phase of the pandemic for financial year 2021-2022 and the request is justifiable as the income that accrues would come down to the assessees in 2021-2022 which could match the reduced rates.
The rates of GST could also be reduced by 25 per cent for all commodities across all rates for a limited period like TDS direct tax laws, which would promote ease of doing business as well as improve cash flow in the system, the statement said.
Further relaxation could be considered for movement of essential commodities and hospital supplies, it said.
A special one-time COVID deduction upto Rs 50,000 may be given to individual/HUF tax payer only for the assessment year 2022-2023 and senior citizen be given additional deductions for dependents, the statement said.
Seeking to devise special tax incentive scheme for those MSMEs who do not avail themselves of any special benefits and comply with all tax and other obligations promptly, the statement said the deduction for interest on housing loans be increased by another Rs 2 lakh per annum to encourage investment in the housing sector.
The prices of raw materials could be fixed at 2019 rates distributed to MSMEs through government distribution channel with appropriate credit facility and the government should insist all PSUs to procure from MSMEs and monitor their payment schedules, it said.
The chamber appealed for sanction of certain relief also to the construction sector such as provisions of special relief by amending Section 80JJAA of the Income-Tax Act to fix upper limit of Rs 60 lakh for houses other than affordable housing at 5 per cent GST.
The chamber said the construction industry should be made as a priority industry to enable more credit facility to the sector.