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COVID-19 Outbreak India: Read All Relief Measures Announced by FM for Various Sectors

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All Relief Measures by Indian Govt in coronaoutbreak

The Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Niramla Sitharaman on March 24th, 2020, announced several relief measures taken by the Government of India in view of COVID-19 outbreak, especially on statutory and regulatory compliance matters related to several sectors.

While addressing the press conference through video conferencing here today, Sitharaman announced relief measures in areas of Income Tax, GST, Customs & Central Excise, Corporate Affairs, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC) Fisheries, Banking Sector and Commerce.

Following are the decisions with respect to statutory and regulatory compliance matters related to various sectors: —

Income Tax

  1. Extend last date for income tax returns for (FY 18-19) from 31st March, 2020  to  30th June, 2020.
  2. Aadhaar-PAN linking date to be extended from 31st March, 2020 to 30th June, 2020.
  3. Vivad se Vishwas  scheme – no additional 10% amount, if payment made by June 30, 2020.
  4. Due dates for  issue  of notice, intimation, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents and time limit for completion of proceedings by the authority and any compliance by the taxpayer including investment in saving instruments or investments for roll over benefit of capital gains   under Income Tax Act,  Wealth Tax Act, Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act, Black Money Act,  STT law, CTT Law, Equalization Levy law, Vivad Se Vishwas  law  where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020  to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020.  
  5. For delayed payments of advanced tax, self-assessment tax,  regular tax, TDS, TCS, equalization levy,  STT, CTT  made between 20th March 2020  and  30th June 2020,  reduced interest rate  at 9%   instead of 12 %/18 % per annum ( i.e. 0.75% per month instead of 1/1.5 percent per month) will be charged  for this period.  No late fee/penalty shall be charged for delay relating to this period.
  6. Necessary legal circulars and legislative amendments for giving effect to the aforesaid relief shall be issued in due course.

 

GST/Indirect Tax

  1. Those having aggregate annual turnover less than Rs. 5 Crore Last date can file  GSTR-3B due in March, April and May 2020  by the last week of  June, 2020. No interest, late fee, and penalty to be charged.
  2. Others can file returns due in March, April and May 2020 by last week of June 2020  but the same would attract reduced rate of interest @9 % per annum from  15 days after due date (current interest rate is  18 % per annum). No late fee and penalty to be charged, if complied before till 30th June 2020.
  3. Date for opting for composition scheme is extended till the last week of   June, 2020.  Further, the last date for making payments for the quarter ending 31st March, 2020 and filing of  return for 2019-20 by the composition dealers  will be extended  till the last week of June, 2020. 
  4. Date for filing GST annual returns of FY 18-19, which is due on 31st March, 2020 is extended till the last week of  June 2020.
  5. Due date for issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents, time limit for any compliance under the GST laws where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020  to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020. 
  6. Necessary legal circulars and legislative amendments to give effect  to the aforesaid GST relief shall follow with the approval of GST Council.
  7. Payment date under Sabka Vishwas Scheme shall be extended to 30th June, 2020. No interest for this period shall be charged if paid by 30th June, 2020.

Customs

  1. 24X7 Custom clearance till end of 30th June, 2020
  2. Due date for issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing applications, reports, any other documents etc., time limit for any compliance under the Customs Act and other allied Laws where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020  to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020. 

Financial Services

  1. Relaxations for 3 months
    • Debit cardholders to withdraw cash for free from any other banks’ ATM for 3 months
    • Waiver of minimum balance fee
    • Reduced bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance consumers

Corporate Affairs

  1. No additional fees shall be charged for late filing during a moratorium period from 01st April to 30th September 2020, in respect of any document, return, statement etc., required to be filed in the MCA-21 Registry, irrespective of its due date, which will not only reduce the compliance burden, including financial burden of companies/ LLPs at large, but also enable long-standing non-compliant companies/ LLPs to make a ‘fresh start’;
  2. The mandatory requirement of holding meetings of the Board of the companies within prescribed interval provided in the Companies Act (120 days), 2013, shall be extended by a period of 60 days till next two quarters i.e., till 30th September;
  3. Applicability of Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 shall be made applicable from the financial year 2020-2021 instead of from 2019-2020 notified earlier. This will significantly ease the burden on companies & their auditors for the year 2019-20.
  4. As per Schedule 4 to the Companies Act, 2013, Independent Directors are required to hold at least one meeting without the attendance of Non-independent directors and members of management. For the year 2019-20, if the IDs of a company have not been able to hold even one meeting, the same shall not be viewed as a violation.
  5. Requirement to create a Deposit reserve of 20% of deposits maturing during the financial year 2020-21 before 30th April 2020 shall be allowed to be complied with till 30th June 2020.
  6. Requirement to invest 15% of debentures maturing during a particular year in specified instruments before 30th April 2020, may be done so before 30th June 2020.
  7. Newly incorporated companies are required to file a declaration for Commencement of Business within 6 months of incorporation. An additional time of 6 more months shall be allowed.
  8. Non-compliance of minimum residency in India for a period of at least 182 days by at least one director of every company, under Section 149 of the Companies Act, shall not be treated as a violation.
  9. Due to the emerging financial distress faced by most companies on account of the large-scale economic distress caused by COVID 19, it has been decided to raise the threshold of default under section 4 of the IBC 2016 to Rs 1 crore (from the existing threshold of Rs 1 lakh). This will by and large prevent triggering of insolvency proceedings against MSMEs. If the current situation continues beyond 30th of April 2020, we may consider suspending section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC 2016 for a period of 6 months so as to stop companies at large from being forced into insolvency proceedings in such force majeure causes of default.
  10. Detailed notifications/circulars in this regard shall be issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs separately.

Department of Fisheries

  1. All Sanitary Permits (SIPs) for import of SPF Shrimp Broodstock and other Agriculture inputs expiring between 01.03.2020 to     15.04.2020 extended by 3 months
  2. Delay upto 1 month in arrival of consignments to be condoned.
  3. Rebooking of quarantine cubicles for cancelled consignments in Aquatic Quarantine Facility (AQF) Chennai without additional booking charges
  4. The verification of documents and grant of NOC for Quarantine would be relaxed from 7 days to 3 days

Department of Commerce

Extension of timelines for various compliance and procedures will be given. Detailed notifications will be issued by the Ministry of Commerce.

 

Misc News/Press Release

MHA Guidelines: Schools, Cinema Halls and Other Facilities Allowed to Open from Oct 15

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Cinema-halls-in-shimla j

Shimla-Amid community spread in India, the Central government has decided to allow more activities including opening of schools, cinema halls, theatres, swimming pools, entertainment parks, and business exhibitions on a conditional basis. The Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI, on September 30 issued a notification regarding the same. These facilities/services would be allowed only outside containment zones and in accordance with the SOPs, the notification said.

Lockdowns would remain in force in notified containment zones till October 31.

Allowing opening in a graded manner after October 15, the Centre government has left the decision to re-open the schools and coaching institutions on the state governments. However, attending schools physically would not be compulsory and would require a written consent of the parents. The students who want to attend the classes online can opt to not attend schools physically. The Centre has directed not to enforce attendance on the students. Further, the schools would have to follow the SOPs, which would be prepared by the state governments.

The higher institutes would be opened only for PhD and post-graduate students in the science and technology stream who requires laboratory/experimental works.

Cinemas, theatres, and multiplexes have been allowed to open from October 15 with upto 50 percent of their seating capacity. SOPs regarding the same would issued soon.

Business to Business Exhibitions have also been allowed from October 15. Swimming pools which are being used for training of sportspersons will be also be allowed to open.

Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations have already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons. In closed spaces, a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity will be allowed with a ceiling of 200 persons. Wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, and provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizers have been made mandatory.

Himachal Pradesh government is expected to release SOPs regarding the opening of these facilities soon. The opening of these activities in Himachal Pradesh would be a challenge as the state has just begun with community spread and heading towards peak level. By September 30 (till 9:00 PM), the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had reached 14976, of which 3400 were active. A total of 181 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Himachal Pradesh. A high portion of these casualties has been reported during the last two months. Yesterday, the state health department could only trace 229 new positive cases. Three more persons died yesterday.

It’s pertinent to consider that the fatality rate is rising but the number of traced COVID-19 cases has been falling in the daily COVID-19 Bulletin issued by the state health department. At the same time, the state government seems to be under-prepared to combat rising number of cases. The shortage of quarantine facilities is one of the these challenges. Himachal Watcher had yesterday covered a similar issued reported from Kaithu market in Shimla city. (Watch the video below)

View the Complete MHA Notification Issued on September 30, 2020

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Alarming Rise in COVID-19 Deaths in Himachal as 18 Die in Two Days, 46 in a Week

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 daily update for september 27

Shimla-The traced number of patients of COVID-19 in Himachal Pradesh is falling in the official update issued by the state Health Department, but the fatality rate is rising at an alarming rate. During the last two days, the state has reported 18 COVID-19 deaths and 46 in the last week. On September 27, the state reported 11 fatalities.  The deceased aged between 48 – 93 years. As per the official statistics, a total of 195 cases were traced yesterday, which took the tally of confirmed cases in the state to 14191. The COVID-19 death tally for the state has now risen to 170.

Solan district has reported the highest 2918 cases, while Kangra district has reported the highest 42 deaths. 

Amid community spread, the state government was yet to issue any projections regarding the actual number of cases and deaths in the state. (Scroll down for latest district-wise statistics)

Details of COVID-19 Fatalities 

COVID-19 deaths in Himachal pradesh september 28

State government appeared to have woken up to issue a statement over the alarming rise in the fatality rate. It is now that the government has realized that the situation asks for a strong strategy.

Also Read: COVID-19 Claims 116 Lives in 25 Days, Still No Concrete Strategy to Combat Community Spread

It’s pertinent to mention that Prime Minister Narender Modi would be paying a visit to the state on October 3, 2020, to commission the Rohtang Tunnel. The state government is tirelessly working to facilitate VVIP guests.

“A common strategy must be prepared to provide proper treatment to the COVID-19 patients, especially with co-morbid illness,”

said an official statement issued yesterday.

“Proper strategy for Information Education and Communication (IEC) must be framed to motivate the patients with ILI symptoms to immediately rush to the hospital without delay, so that they may be provided with immediate treatment. This would help in timely treatment of the patients,”

the government said.

The doctors have been asked to ensure proper treatment to the patients, especially the patients with the co-morbid illness.

“Proper protocol must be adopted for home isolation for the asymptotic patients at home. It has been felt that such patients at home do not get proper treatment and care. Such patients must be treated as per the standard operating procedure,”

the government said.  

After questions were raised over the arrangements at the COVID-19 hospitals following the suicide of a positive patient at the DDU hospital Shimla, the government asked the officials to ensure proper hygiene and cleanliness at these hospitals.

The government asked the officials to provide hot water, Kada and nutritious food and develop a mechanism for communication of the COVID-19 patients and their family members.

Senior doctors have been asked to daily visit the patients. Directions have been given to Medical Superintendents of all the Medical Colleges and major Zonal Hospitals in the State to ensure at least two rounds in a day to monitor all the facilities such as ward cleanliness, treatment to the patients, quality of food, and condition of toilets in their hospitals.

Further, the government said that the isolation wards in Chamba, Hamirpur and Nahan Medical Colleges would start functioning from tomorrow.  It would also reduce the referral cases to IGMC Shimla, Dr RPMC, Tanda and LBSMC, Ner Chowk, the government said. The government also informed that 15 to 20 bedded isolation facilities would be provided in each of these medical colleges to facilitate the patients.

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- September 25, 2020 (9 PM)

himachal pradesh covid-19 situation in september

 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Claims 116 Lives in 25 Days, Still No Concrete Strategy to Combat Community Spread

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himachal pradesh covid-19 community spread

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh didn’t get any respite from rising number of fatalities on September 25 too. Seven more patients succumbed to the infection. These deaths were reported from Shimla (2), Solan (2), Chamba (1), Siramur (1), and Hamirpur (1). The patients included six males and one female aged between 35-66 years.  According to the Health Department, two of the deceased were patients of diabetes mellitus.  (View details of the deceased below). So far, 152 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19 infection.

COVID-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

Further, according to the official report, a total of 293 cases were traced yesterday. The official tally had reached 13679 till 9:00 PM yesterday. (Scroll down for district-wise statistics).

Despite the onset of community spread, the state hasn’t come out with any projection of the actual number of cases and deaths. There is no word on a strategy for combating community spread and minimize the casualties. Of the total 152 deaths traced by the government, 116 casualties were reported in the last 25 days of the September month. On average, the state is reporting four COVID-19 casualties per day during the current month.

Meanwhile, Dr Lokender Sharma, who was removed from the position of the Medical Superintendent, DDU, Shimla, following a suicide of a COVID-19 patient, has come out with statements which refer to the callous attitude of the state Health Department and its higher officials. He said that there was no negligence on his part and that he was ready for any inquiry. He said the higher officials are washing their hands of responsibilities by putting the entire blame on hospital administration and doctors. He again referred to the shortage of staff and his repeated reminders to the department regarding the same. However, it’s pertinent to mention that the actual cause of the suicide was yet to be ascertained.

Govt Not Prepared for Peak Period of COVID-19 Spread: Sanjay Chauhan

The incident has led to protests from oppositions who allege ill-preparedness of the government in combating COVID-19. Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a leader of Communist Party of India (M), said that the incident highlights miserable state of and mismanagement at the COVID-19 hospitals. He said there is an acute shortage of health staff including doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff at the DDU hospital. More than 30 percent of posts are vacant at the hospital, he added.

The government has been claiming it an achievement to receive 500 ventilators, but there is no staff to operate them, he said. He said that the leaders of the ruling government are also criticizing the miserable state of the COVID-19 hospitals and asking to fix it.

“Instead of formulating any concrete plan to attend to this issue, the government is emphasizing on ‘Havans’ which is unscientific. It clearly displays the backward and unscientific approach of the ruling party,”

Chauhan said.

He said that the government should prepare a strategy to combat the spread on a war footing and constitute a task force under able leadership. The Chief Minister should call for an all-party meeting to gain their support  to ensure appropriate preparedness to combat the peak period, he said.

Chief Minister Focused on PM Visit ahead of Rohtang Tunnel

The Chief Minister, however, did preside over a “Media Plan” meeting yesterday pertaining to the proposed visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the State on October 3, 2020 to inaugurate Atal Tunnel Rohtang.

Chief Minister directed the officers to ensure elaborate arrangements for installation of LED screens at different locations for the live telecast of the event. He directed the authorities to make special arrangements for the VVIP visits. He said that appropriate hoardings must be installed at different sites including district headquarters. A proper media centre with the internet and other facilities must be established to facilitate the media persons, he directed the officials. 

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- September 25, 2020 (9 PM)

Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 deaths on september 25, 2020

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