Coronavirus Crisis- Government declares relief for taxpayers and bank customers, a financial package for industry soon, FM Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has announced a significant relief for the taxpayers and ordinary bank account holders. Finance Minister Sitharaman made some important announcements for providing relief, by extending the date for filing returns, to the Income Tax and GST payers. The minimum balance condition, for bank accounts, also has been removed for the next three months. At the same time, the customers have been allowed to withdraw money from any ATM. Sitharaman announced that the package for the industrial sector, facing a crisis, will be announced soon

The Prime Minister had announced the formation of ‘COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force’, under the leadership of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Prime Minister had said that the ‘COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force’ will assess the economic losses, caused by the pandemic and take necessary decisions. Thereafter, four days ago, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman convened a review meeting. Against this background, Finance Minister Sitharaman established a dialogue with the media through video conferencing.

Coronavirus Crisis- Government declares relief for taxpayers and bank customers, a financial package for industry soon, FM Nirmala SitharamanAt this time, Finance Minister Sitharaman announced some important decisions, providing relief to the traders and common people. The normal year-end for the fiscal year is 31st March. Sitharaman announced that in view of the situation created by the Coronavirus, the date has been extended by three months.

As per the decision the last date for filing of Income Tax and GST returns has been extended to 30th June. Fine, penalty and late filing charges have been exempted for GST filing, for companies with a turnover of less than ₹50 million. The companies having turnover above ₹50 million, the interest rate for delayed payment has been reduced to 9% from 18%. The interest on late payment of Income Tax also has been reduced from 12% to 9%. The date for linking PAN with Aadhaar has been extended to 30th June. The corporates have been instructed to postpone the Board of Director meetings by 60 days.

The government has removed the minimum balance requirement for the bank accounts for the next three months. At the same time, customers will be able to withdraw money from any bank’s ATM. There will be no fines of charges levied for these transactions. Before this, only five transactions were allowed from other bank ATMs. There was a charge of ₹20 to ₹25 on the next transactions. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also announced that the charges for online transactions would also be reduced.

The Finance Minister assured that problems faced by all the sectors will be resolved. Sitharaman indicated that the issue of Bank loans and EMIs also was under consideration. The industry had demanded that relief should be provided for repayment of monthly instalments on the bank borrowings.

Meanwhile, detrimental effects of the Coronavirus pandemic are becoming visible in the economy, which had already started slowing down. Many industrial sectors are in trouble because of this. The industry sector is demanding that the government should declare a relief package for the sector. Finance Minister Sitharaman declared that a financial package for the industry will be declared soon, in order to provide an impetus to the industry sector and in turn to revive the economy. She informed me that the government was working on the package.

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