The big announcements from India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

  • There has been a growing clamour for respite both financial as well as regulatory (like taxation and other compliances).
  • Over 500 people have been infected by the virus while nine of them have died as of March 23.
  • Follow the comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact, and other useful resources that can help you in the fight on Business Insider India.
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Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman had announced a series of measures to deal with the economic crash as India, along with the rest of the world, battles the Coronavirus pandemic. Over 500 people have been infected by the virus while nine of them have died as of March 23. As many as 22 Indian states and 80 districts are under lockdown and that has brought an already weak economy to its knees. There has been a growing clamour for respite both financial as well as regulatory (like taxation and other compliances).These are some of the big announcements made by Sitharaman on March 24:

  1. Tax returns for financial year 2018-19 can be filed by June 30.
  2. No extension of penalty on delayed deposit of TDS (tax deducted at source). However, the penalty has been halved to 9% from 18% currently.
  3. The deadline for linking Aadhaar with PAN (Permanent Account Number) has been extended to 30 June 2020.
  4. All investments for rollover benefit of capital gains under Income Tax act, Wealth Tax act, Prohibition of Benami Property Transfer Act, Black Money Act, Securities Transaction Tax law, equalisation levy law, 'vivaad se vishwaas' law — the amnesty scheme for tax disputes where the time limit was expiring on March 20 — now increased to 30 June.
  5. The last date of filing returns for the months of March, April, and May 2020, including composition scheme, extended to June 30.
  6. For companies with turnover less than Rs 5 crore, no late fees, penalties, and interest on deferred payment.
  7. For companies with turnover over Rs 5 crore, there will be no late fees, penalties but there will be an interest of 9%, down from 18% currently.
  8. Customs clearance will operate 24x7. It will be doing its duty as an essential service.
  9. MCA-21 Registry: Moratorium issued from April 1 to September 30. No additional fees for late filing. The mandatory requirements for holding meetings of Board of Directors relaxed by 60 days.
  10. Applicability of auditors' report order was supposed to be in force from financial year ending March 2020, that has now been delayed by a year.
  11. For the year financial year 2020, independent directors will not be held for violation if they haven't held even one meeting.
  12. For newly incorporated companies, there is a requirement to file declarations for commencement of business within 6 months. Now, we’re giving them an additional time of 6 more months.
  13. There is a need to create a reserve for 20% of all the deposits maturing next financial year by April, that has been deferred to June.
  14. Similarly, there was a need to invest 15% of the amount from maturing debentures during the next financial year (April to March 2021) by April. That has been deferred to June.
  15. Threshold for default under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has been raised by 100 times to ₹1 crore. This is effective immediately to stop the triggering of insolvency proceedings against micro, small, and medium enterprises. If the situation doesn't improve by April 30, the government may consider suspending Section 7, 9, and 10 of the bankruptcy law for a period of six months.
  16. All sanitary import permits (shrimp, broodstock, and any aquaculture) set to expire by April 1 and April 15 2020, are being extended by three months. Even if your import is coming a month later, that will not be seen as a delay.
  17. Re-booking for quarantine cubicles, for those cancelled consignments in aquatic quarantine facilities, will not entail additional booking charge.
  18. The grant of no objection certificate and verification of documents for quarantine will be relaxed from 7 days to 3 days.
  19. Debit card holders can withdraw cash from any bank ATMs for the next three months.
  20. No fee will be charged for not having minimum balance in the savings account.
  21. Bank charges will be reduced for digital transactions for trade and finance consumers.
  22. The principle to be followed by Commerce Department: For procedural and eligibility point of view, extension of timeline will be given but there won't be an extension of scheme guidelines for modification.
  23. We, both government and the regulator SEBI, are monitoring the stock market thrice a day. Various sub-groups of the task force on economy, as well outsiders, have made suggestions and we will soon come with an announcement.
  24. Under Section 149(3) of the new Companies Act, every company is required to have at least one director who has stayed in India for a total period of not less than 182 days in the previous calendar year. A violation will be condoned in the wake of the current coronavirus crisis.
  25. Department of Financial Services will decide if there are to be any changes on equal monthly installments for borrowers.
The clamour for radical measures ahead of these announcements from the Finance Minister

Earlier, the CEO of government think tank NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant also batted for direct benefit transfer to those who lost their livelihoods due to the lockdown aimed at containing the virus.

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The state’s first responsibility should be towards people who are at the margin and are going to lose their jobs, and should be able to provide them with a source of livelihood. And that should be in the form of a direct benefit transfer,” he said in a virtual interview with the Observer Research Foundation.

Here's a thread of some important demands for financial relief before the lockdown came into full force.


The former governor of RBI Raghuram Rajan said that it is hard to assess the economic impact of the pandemic. However, he said that the government needs to put medical supplies etc on priority as it heads to contain the virus. "We need to spend money on medical supplies, ventilators, masks — on getting protective equipment for medical workers. That means getting every resource in. pvt, public, defence, retired — every resource. And quickly. All this will require fiscal resources and this is the higher priority," Rajan said in a TV interview.
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While Kerala and Tamil Nadu announced measures like free ration and a handout, no national level programme to support daily labourers and other small businesses has been announced.
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