The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Monday urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to extend till June 30 the date for filing income tax and GST returns in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Around 40,000 trade associations and seven crore traders across India are affiliated with CAIT, while 500 associations and over 1 lakh traders are connected with it in Delhi-NCR, the body said.
CAIT's Delhi-NCR unit convenor Sushil Kumar Jain said lockdown has begun in multiple states from Monday and all the traders have to keep their shops closed and stay at their home in a preventive measure against COVID-19.
Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon are among 75 districts across the country under a lockdown enforced by the government amid the coronavirus outbreak.
"The current financial year is coming to an end on March 31 and many states are under complete lockdown while the rest of the states have partial lockdown. In view of this situation, CAIT has urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to extend last date of all types of return filings and tax liability under Income Tax and GST till June 30," Jain said in a statement.
"Also, the period of loans and EMIs repayment should be extended till June 30 and instructions be given to banks to ensure that no account of any trader is declared a non-performing asset (NPA)," he said.
The traders' body also urged that no interest should be charged and no penalty be levied on the period of various taxes and further extension of bank loan or EMI, among others.
"In order to keep the supply chain running smoothly across the country, banks should give 'coronavirus' cash loans at a reduced rate to merchants. The current financial year should be extended to April 30 under special circumstances and the traders should be subsidised by the government for the salary paid to their employees during the period of lockdown," he said in the statement.
COVID-19 cases in India rose to 415, the Union health ministry said as much of the country was locked down on Monday with the Centre warning legal action against those violating the restrictions enforced to curtail the pandemic, which has claimed more than 14,500 lives globally.
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