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Here are the FM's key announcements to support the economy amid Covid-19

Here are key announcements made by FM Sitharaman in the press conference today

Sukanya Roy  |  New Delhi 

The government deferred deadlines for filing tax returns, extended a tax amnesty program and unveiled other relief steps, while promising more measures to support the economy amid the pandemic.

The press conference was aimed at providing regulatory and statutory compliance relaxations amid the pandemic in India.

India, Asia’s third-largest economy, is under pressure to boost spending to fight the economic fallout of the pandemic that’s infected close to 400,000 people globally and brought normal life to a halt. Citizens across India observed a self-imposed curfew Sunday, a day when the country’s borders were also sealed temporarily to international flights aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

The of the announcement of a package from the Finance Minister did raise a lot of expectations given the threat of a very negative impact of on the economy. A quick gauge of the reaction is the stock market, where the S&P BSE Sensex declined by around 500 points by the time the announcements were made.

She also said, "The lockdown has been done with an intention of flattening that curve of coronavirus’ spread.

Here are her key announcements:

Tax payers can file their annual returns by June 30 instead of the March 31 deadline for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2019

For delayed payments, the interest rate has been reduced from 12 per cent to 9 per cent.

Last date for filing March, April and May 2020 GST returns extended to June 30, 2020. Due date for any compliance and documentation by taxpayers, including for investment instruments, extended to June 30, 2020. Companies with less than Rs 5 cr turnover, no interest or late fee or penalty will be charged for late filing of GST return. For bigger companies, penalty will be charged at a reduced rate.

The date for Aadhaar-PAN linking and Vivad Se Vishwas Scheme has also been extended till June 30, with no additional 10 per cent payment. Sabka Vishwas scheme's extended deadline of March 31, 2020, further extended to June 30, 2020. During this period, those paying indirect tax will not be charged any interest fee

The date to opt for the composition scheme also extended to June 30, 2020.

FM said that the customs will be doing their service as an essential service 24x7 until June 30, even during the lockdown. "MCA 21 registry, there is a moratorium being issued April 1 onwards until September 30. No additional fees for late payment. Mandatory requirement for holding board meeting relaxed by 60 days for the next two quarter", Sitharaman said.

For 2019-20, if independent directors of companies have not been able to hold even a single meeting, that will not be seen as a violation, FM further said.

For newly incorporated companies, there is a requirement to file a disclosure of commencement of business within 6 months.

This is extended by 6 months. If a company director does not comply with minimum residency requirement, it shall not be treated as a violation. Deadline to maintain a deposit reserve of 25% by April exptended to June 30, Sitharaman said during the conference.

Threshold triggering insolvency proceedings raised to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh.

Government considering suspending Sections 7, 9, 10 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) for six months.

Charges for ATM cash withdrawal, not keeping saving account minimum balance waived for 3 months

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 21:01 IST