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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.

 

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Dharamshala Hoteliers Say Condition of 5-Days Pre-Booking Unnecessary, Not Acceptable to Tourists  

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Dharamshala hotelier association on opening hotels

Dharamshala-The Hotel and Restaurant Association, Dharamshala, recently held a meeting under the Chairmanship of President Ashwani Bamba to discuss the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Himachal Pradesh Government.  

The Association said that the Tourism Department has made the condition of pre-booking of minimum five nights stay in a hotel mandatory. But prospective guests are not willing to accept this restriction.

“As even in the peak summer season, the average stay of a guest in any destination in the state is only for two nights. We cannot force the guest to stay for five nights in the rainy season,”

Ashwani Bamba said.

He said that the Association has also received feedback from its online as well as offline travel agents, who suggested that guest are not willing to travel to Himachal on these conditions.

“We fail to understand that when producing COVID-19 negative certificate has been made mandatory for entry to the State, what is the logic behind five nights mandatory stay,”

he questioned.

The Association also raised questions over the feasibility of implementing SOP regarding obtaining a certification declaring that a vehicle is sanitized.

“Who are the agencies authorized by the State Administration to issue such certificate and the validity of such certificate? Association feels that this is unnecessary and impractical and will only cause harassment to tourists,”

Ashwani said.

He suggested that instead of this condition, a self-declaration by the guest should suffice.

Also Read: First Open for Tourism, Then Train Staff, HP Govt Goes Topsy Turvy

Further, the SOP asking hotel owners to allow guests to check-in even if they have high temperature and showing visible symptoms of cough and breathlessness is not acceptable to the hoteliers, the Association said.

Further, there is a fear among hoteliers that in case a guest turns out to be COVID-19 positive, hotel premises may be sealed. Also, the SOPs do not mention any directions/instructions regarding the period for which premises of such hotel would be sealed and the staff will be quarantined, the Association said.

 “We suggest that instead of check-in the hotel, such symptomatic guest should be straight away sent to the Government COVID-19 health facilities for further medical check-up and quarantined at designated quarantine facilities till the arrival of his/her report,”

the Association said.

Further, the President said that due to the above-cited SOPs issued by the Department, the majority of the hoteliers are not willing to open.

The Association said that as the present set of SOPs is not favourable for prospective guests and hoteliers and there is an alarming rise in corona cases in Punjab, Delhi, UP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, they were not expecting many tourists to visit the State. Therefore, the Association said, it’s not advisable to open the hotels till July 30th.

“We are requesting the Government to take into confidence the stakeholders and revise the SOPs, where it incentivises guests to visit the State and to remove unreasonable restrictions,”

the Association said.  

Further, Ashwani informed that the Association has decided to review the SOPs and situation regarding corona cases on July 31 and the next course of action would be decided thereafter.

The Association has made it clear that if any hotel wants to open its premises with the present set of SOPs for the tourists, it may do so at his own risk.

What Hoteliers in Shimla Say About Opening Hotels

About 700 Tourist Visited Himachal During Last 5 Days

About 700 tourists visited the State in the last five days, informed Secretary, Tourism and Civil Aviation Devesh Kumar on Saturday.

He said that before framing the SOP for the opening of tourism units in the State, the Tourism department has examined the SOP of other states who have also opened the hotels for tourists in their respective State.

Advisory to Tourists Planning Visit to Himachal

As per the advisory issued, the tourists who wish to visit Himachal Pradesh are required to register themselves on the E-Pass web portal before 48 hours visiting Himachal under tourist category. The tourists have to carry COVID test certificate (RTPCR) issued by ICMR certified laboratory with a negative report and this should not be more than 72 hours. In addition, the tourist must have downloaded Aarogya Setu App on their mobiles.

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COVID-19: Kangra Crosses 300 Mark, Over 30 Including Policemen Quarantined After Rape Accused Tests Positive in Una

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Himachal pradesh rape accused test covid positive in una

Una-The Amb police station in Una district was sealed and over 30 people including policemen were home-quarantined after a rape accused tested positive for COVID-19. According to the initial information, the police had nabbed the accused in Tarn Taran, Punjab, on July 9 and brought him to the Amb police station. SP, Una, Karthikeyan Gokulachandran confirmed the report.

On Saturday, 11 new cases were reported in Himachal Pradesh. On Friday, the State had reported 31 new cases. On Sunday, two new cases were reported from Chamba district till noon. The COVID-19 tally for the State has now jumped to 1184, of which 262 are active cases, 898 cured, nine died, and 13 migrated to outside the state.

In Kullu district, after a COVID-19 case was reported from Ward Number 7 of Kullu Municipal Council, the district administration has sealed area falling between Loarn, Khalada road on the northern side and Sarwari Khad on the southern side and declared it as containment zone. The remaining area of the ward has been declared as a buffer zone.

 Earlier, the police line in Solan district was sealed and about 30 policemen were quarantined after two constables tested positive on Friday. Their samples were taken as part of routine sampling, and it was yet to be ascertained as to how they got infected. SP, Solan, Abhishek Yadav, confirmed the report.

 ESI Hospital, Parawanoo, was also sealed after a doctor tested positive. The doctor is believed to have contracted the disease while taking samples for testing.  

According to the official statistics released by the State Health Department on July 11 (9 PM), a total of 98367 persons have been tested for COVID-19 in the state. Currently, 20392 persons are under active surveillance.

District-wise, Kangra has reported highest 303 cases, followed by Hamirpur (272), Solan (177), Una (138), Chamba (61), Shimla (55), Bilaspur (51), Mandi (38), Sirmaur (42), Kinnaur (35), Kullu (8), and Lahaul-Spiti (4).

HP Health Department’s Daily COVID-19 Bulletin (12 PM) for July 12, 2020

Latest Himachal Pradesh corona updates

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Read HP Cabinet Decisions on Hike in Bus Fare, UG Exams, School/College Admissions, Jobs & Others

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Himachal Pradesh cabinet meeting july 10, 2020

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Cabinet said it is considering to give an approval to hike bus fare by 25 percent in the State.  The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting held on July 10, 2020. The Transport Minister, Govind Singh Thakur, said a notification regarding the same would be issued soon. Private bus operators had been demanding hike in fares since the opening of public transport services. Most of the private transporters had declined to resume service with the State Government’s condition of 60 percent occupancy. The government had later allowed plying of public transport with 100 percent capacity, but the private bus operators still pressurized the Transport Minister to consider hiking the bus fare.

Though the official notification was yet to be released, the decision has already begun to face resistance from the people and oppositions.

The State unit of Indian National Congress, Shimla Nagrik Sabha and Communist Party of India have released statements questioning the timing of the decision. Former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, termed this decision against the public interests as a hike has been made when the majority of people are going through a financially tough time due to the lockdowns in wake of coronavirus outbreak.

Further, Nagrik Sabha said that the private transporters and HRTC staff should have been provided relief by the state government but instead, the burden has been put on the public, which is not justified. About 70 percent of people employed in private sector and small businesses are partially or completely hit due to the corona pandemic, the Sabha said. 

UG Final Year Exams and School Admissions

Further, the Education Minister, Suresh Bhardwaj, informed that the Cabinet has given nod to the Education Department’s proposal to start admissions in government schools and colleges from 13 to 25 July. The admissions in schools/colleges would facilitate the students who have passed Class 10 and Class 12. Students can apply for admission online, telephonically, or by physically visiting the schools/colleges, he informed.

Regarding the examination of the final year of under-graduation and post-graduation would be held in August (after 16th) and September respectively. The Minister said that according to the new guidelines issued by the UGC, it would be mandatory to conduct examinations for the students of last semester/year of under graduation. The examination could be conducted at centres or online, the Minister said. In case the students are not able to appear in the examination at the colleges and universities, they would be given a facility to appear in the exam in nearby centres. In case, some students fail to appear in the examination due to some genuine reason, another chance would be given to such students to take the examination in the same academic year.

However, no decision was taken regarding the examination of the first and second years students of under-graduation. In case it is decided to promote students of these years, the criteria would be set after further discussions, the Minister informed. 

Job Opportunity for Eligible Unemployed Candidates

The Cabinet also gave its nod to the draft policy for engaging ‘Part-Time Multi Task Workers’ in government schools. It will initially provide an opportunity for 7852 eligible unemployed candidates to earn honorarium at the local level. These workers will be paid an honorarium of Rs. 31.25 per hour for six hours per day for ten months in an academic year.

State Cabinet approved the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Himachal Pradesh (Amendment) Rules, 2019. The government said it would extend the provision of ‘Fixed Term Employment Workman’ in respect of industrial establishments under their domain as per provisions of Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and Rules made thereafter. This would offer the ‘Fixed Term Employment Workman’ the same statutory benefits as were being proportionately given to regular workers, thus, decrease the exploitation of contract workers as the employer would directly hire the workers without any mediator in the form of contract for a fixed term, the government said.

Other Cabinet Decision of HP Govt

The Cabinet gave its approval to Himachal Pradesh Ease of Compliance to Maintain Register under various Labour Laws, Rules, 2019.

It granted its approval to adopt CPWD works Manual 2019 and other publication of CPWD in Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department.

It decided to open new Horticulture Division in Public Works Department at Shimla. The government said that all the existing Sub-divisions of the Horticulture would be brought under the administrative control of this Division. This new Horticulture Division would help build green roads by ensuring roadside plantation and slope stability activities through bio-engineering technology.

The Cabinet gave its consent to establish a training academy centre at Barchwad in Sarkaghat area of Mandi district to train those youth who are willing to join Indian Army/Navy/Air Force and other paramilitary forces to serve the country.

It decided to enhance the honorarium of part-time water carriers engaged in Elementary and Higher Education Departments of the State Government by Rs. 300 per month from Rs. 2400 to Rs. 2700 per month.

The Cabinet decided to provide a monthly ‘Loktantra Prahari Samman Rashi’ of Rs. 8000 per month to those persons who have undergone 1-15 days incarceration and Rs. 12000 per month to those who have undergone 15 days or above incarceration during the emergency between 25th June 1975 to 21st March 1977 under MISA –Maintenance of Internal Security Act and DIR-Defence of India Rules as a token of respect to them for standing up for democracy and fundamental rights of the people.

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