Finance Minister's Strategy to Battle COVID-19 Outbreak
The Government of India has announced Economic Relief Package in multiple tranches. The first tranche announced on May 13, 2020, has 14 different measures. Six of these are for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises(MSME); 2 are for Employees Provident Fund (EPF); 2 for NBFCs, Housing Finance companies, and MFIs; 1 for electricity distribution companies; 1 for contractors; 1 for the real estate sector and 3 tax measures:
Features for MSMEs package in India
For regular functioning MSMEs, collateral-free automatic loans worth Rs 3 lakh crore will be provided. This is for a 4-year tenure and is 100 percent guaranteed. This will last till October 21, 2020;
For NPA and stressed MSMEs, Rs 20,000 crore will be infused through subordinate debt for stressed MSMEs who have equity problems. This liquidity line will benefit 2 lakh MSMEs. All NPA' or stressed MSMEs are eligible for the scheme. The government will provide Rs 4,000 crore to CGTMSE who will provide a partial guarantee to banks who will then give benefit to stressed MSMEs;
For viable MSMEs, the Fund of the Government of India will infuse Rs 50,000 crore equity through its daughter funds. This fund infusion will be for those MSMEs who have potential and are viable. This gives such MSMEs an opportunity to expand and also list on stock exchanges when they are ready;
Definition of MSMEs changed - Definition being changed for MSMEs for their benefit so that they can grow in size and get benefits. The Definitions now are applied similarly to Manufacturing and Service Enterprises. Investment limits that defined MSMEs have been revised upwards. Additional criteria being brought in is turnover size - earlier differentiation between manufacturing and service MSMEs will be categorized similarly;
Global tenders in government procurement will be disallowed for up to Rs 200 crore or less. This will allow MSMEs a chance to supply for these big projects. Small units can be part of government purchases
Since trade fairs and exhibitions will be difficult, we will provide e-market facilities. GoI and CPMEs where there are receivables - all will be cleared within 45 days
B) Features of the EPF package
The government would pay the entire provident fund contribution of those who earn less than ₹15,000 per month in companies that employ up to 100 people, where 90% draw salaries of less than ₹15,000 per month support to eligible companies extended to for another three months.
In order to provide more take-home salary for employees and to give relief to employers in payment of PF,. For the next three months, all other private-sector employers will need to pay only a 10% contribution as against the 12%.
C) Features of package for NBFCs, MFI and Housing Finance Companies
Rs 30,000 crore special liquidity scheme where the government will buy investment-grade debt papers (and not only high-quality papers) of NBFCs, HFCs, and MFIs. These securities will be fully guaranteed by the Government of India. This is with the intention that these NBFCs - which do not have high-quality debt papers, can then support the MSMEs dependent on them.
Rs 45,000 liquidity infusion through a partial guarantee scheme. Will cover commercial papers and borrowings. First, 20 percent loss will be borne by the guarantor - GOI. Double AA-rated paper and unrated papers will all be eligible.
D) Features of Package for Electricity Distribution Companies
For distribution companies facing unprecedented cash flow problems and are unable to pay electricity generation companies, a one-time emergency liquidity infusion of Rs 90,000 crore via PFC and REC is being provided. This will be a state-issued guarantee and a rebate will be provided to those distribution companies that pass benefit to end customers.
E) Features of Package for Contractors
All Government of India agencies, such as Railways, highways, or central public works, will give six months extension to all contractors without extra costs. This will cover construction work and goods and services contracts, completion of works and intermediate milestones, and also the concessional period in PPP contracts. To facilitate greater liquidity, government agencies will partially release bank guarantees to the extent of the completed contract so that the cash flow of the Contractor to make payments improves.
F) Features of Package for Real Estate
The Urban Development Ministry shall issue advisories to states and UTs to treat the COVID-19 period as an 'Act of God' and thus allow force majeure extension and suspension. Fresh project registration certificates will be issued and registration and completion date to be extended suo moto for up to six months for projects registered on or after March 25, 2020.
G) Features of Package for Tax
Reduction of TDS and TCS: TDS and TCS rates is reduced by 25 percent for the financial year 2020-21. This is applicable on all payments - interest, rent, brokerage, supply, etc. This will be enforced from May 14, 2020 till March 31, 2021.
All pending refunds to charitable trusts and non-corporate businesses & professions shall be issued immediately.
The due date of all I-T returns for FY19-20 from July 31, 2020, and October 31, 2020, extended till November 31, 2020. Tax audits were extended from September 30, 2020, till October 31, 2020. The date of assessments getting barred as of September 2020 is extended till December 2020. Those getting barred on March 31, 2021, are extended till September 31, 2021. Vivad se Vishwas scheme is extended till December 31, 2020, without any additional amount
DISCLAIMER- Please note that this update is only for information purposes and is not legal advice. You are requested to seek legal advice before you take any legal and/or business decisions.