India Under Complete Lockdown for 21 Days from Midnight: PM
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced complete lockdown of the country from midnight. In his address to the nation, the PM says, "From 12am tonight there will be a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days. We are making efforts to not only give priority to what is essential but also what is required for protecting life. No matter what, we should stay at home. We should not cross the Laxman Rekha of our homes. When there is life, there is hope”.
 
"Steps have been taken to ensure supply of essential commodities. We are making efforts that there is no difficulty in daily life. We are taking all steps to ensure continuous essential supplies," PM Modi says without sharing more details on this. 
 
"Do not fall for any rumour or superstition. Follow the advisories given by the central and state governments and medical fraternity. Do not take any medicines without authentic medical advice. The 21-day lockdown period is very important for you and your family. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Follow the law and let us go ahead with hope of victory," he added.
 
"Doctors, hospital administrators, ambulance drivers - think of all medical workers who are working day and night to save lives, and of sanitation workers who are cleaning our streets and helping us," the PM says, adding, "I request you with folded hands, 'stay at home' and think of those people who are doing their duty, placing their lives in danger. Stand by our resolve and promise."
 
According to the PM, the union and all state governments are working together and with civil society to battle the pandemic and to ensure essential supplies, to save lives. He says, "Rs15,000 crore rupees have been allocated in order to strengthen the health infrastructure in the country, for testing facilities, personal protective equipment, isolation beds and facilities, training to be improved. I have told all state governments that their foremost priority at this juncture should be nothing but health services. Happy that the private sector too is standing with the nation in this moment."
 
He says, "The World Health Organisation (WHO) report says one infected person can infect hundreds of people just in a week, this virus spreads like fire, it is difficult to stop it once it spreads. Countries like Italy and US are known for best medical services but they could not control the spread. Those who controlled their citizens did not come out of the house. That is how they controlled it."
 
"Some people are under the misconception that social distancing is only for those infected with corona virus... but they should understand that this for everyone because it is important to break the cycle," said PM Modi in his address to the nation.
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    Indian Govt Extends Deadline for Filing I-T Return, GST Till 30th June, Makes ATM Withdrawals Free for Next 3 Months

    The Indian government on Tuesday extended the deadline till 30 June 2020, for filing income tax returns (ITR) for financial year 2018-19 in a bid to provide relief amid the coronavirus (COVID19) crisis. The last date for filing goods and services tax (GST) for March, April and May 2020 is also extended till June end. While waiving the fee on minimum balance, bank customers are allowed to withdraw money from any bank's automated teller machine (ATM) over next three months.

    Addressing the media through video conferencing, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman also said that the government has reduced the interest rate on delayed deposit of tax deduction at source (TDS) to 9% from 18%.

    She says, "For delayed payments of advanced tax, self-assessment tax, regular tax, TDS, tax collected at source (TCS), equalization levy, securities transaction tax (STT), commodities transaction tax (CTT) made between 20th March and 30 June 2020, reduced interest rate at 9% instead of 12 % or 18 % per annum, or 0.75% per month instead of 1% to 1.5% per month will be charged for this period. No late fee or penalty shall be charged for delay relating to this period."

    Providing a relief to bank customers, the FM says, debit card holders who withdraw cash from any bank's ATM can do it free of charge for the next three months. Waiver of the minimum balance fee charged by banks is waived while bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance consumers are being reduced, Ms Sitharaman says.

    The government has also extended the deadline for linking of Aadhaar and permanent account number (PAN) till 30th June 30.

    On GST, the minister says, "Last date for filing GSTR-3B in March, April and May 2020 will be extended till the last week of 30 June 2020 for those having aggregate annual turnover of less than Rs5 crore. No interest, late fee and penalty will be charged."

    The mandatory requirement of holding meetings of the company board within prescribed interval of 120 days as provided in the Companies Act 2013, is being extended by 60 days till next two quarters or till 30th September, the finance minister says.

    To ease burden on companies and auditors, Ms Sitharaman says, the applicability of Companies (Auditor's Report) Order, 2020 would be made applicable from financial year 2020-2021 instead of from 2019-2020 notified earlier.

    Due to the emerging financial distress faced by most companies due to large-scale economic distress caused by COVID 19, the government has decided to raise the threshold of default under section 4 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016 to Rs1 crore from the existing threshold of Rs1 lakh.

    "This will by and large prevent triggering of insolvency proceedings against micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). If the current situation continues beyond 30 April 2020, we may consider suspending section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC 2016 for six months so as to stop companies at large from being forced into insolvency proceedings in such force majeure causes of default," the finance minister added.

    The government has also provided big relief to the corporate sectors on compliance related issues particularly related to incorporation of businesses and qualifications of directors.

    As per announcements made by the finance minister, a company has now been given six more months to file declaration of commencement of business. At present such declaration has to be made within six months from in corporation.

    Directors of Indian registered companies have also been freedom from compliant with residency rules that mandates them to be in India for a minimum period of 182 days.

    "Under Section 149 of the Companies Act., non compliance of this rule was treated as a violation. Now, it shall not be treated as a violation," the finance minister said.

    The government has also decided to give more flexibility to companies over the n eed to create a deposit reserve from 20% of the deposits maturing in FY2021 by 30 April this year. This requirement can now be met by 30 June 2020.

    Also, companies have been given time till June end to invest 15% debentures maturing during a year in specified instruments. The date of compl iance for this earlier was 30th April.

    The relief comes amidst the whole of the country coming to a standstill amid the rising number of coronavirus cases and lockdown across states.

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    COMMENTS

    deepak.narain

    3 months ago

    It is all good. Government is aware of its responsibility in the present moment of crisis.

    bajaj3

    3 months ago

    Is there any clarification if PPF payment is extended beyond 31st March 2020.
    Because of curfew, I cannot go to the bank to deposit money in my PPF account.

    COVID-19: All checkpoints at air, sea, land, rail, river ports shut
    All integrated check posts (ICPs) at all airports, seaports, land ports, rail ports, and river ports are closed down to contain the spread COVID-19 outbreak in India.
     
    "In continuation of restrictions and advisories the undersigned is directed to covey the orders of Central government to stop all incoming passenger traffic on all 107 Immigration Check Posts which includes all Airport ICPs, all seaport ICPs, all land port ICPs, all rail port ICPs and all river port ICPs in view of the spread of COVID-10," read a government memorandum issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
     
    However it exempts vehicles or trains carrying for trade or essential goods and supplier, from this stringent prohibition. Their crew, drivers, helpers and cleaners will also be exempted subject to their screening by medical staff.
     
    Earlier, 30 states and union territories announced complete lockdown covering as much as 548 districts on Monday. The unprecedented decision was taken in wake of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
     
    The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India stands at 415, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Nine people have succumbed to the virus till now.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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