Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces relief measures amid COVID-19 crisis Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: Aimed at giving some relief to businesses, industry and the common as states go into total lockdown to fight COVID-19, union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced a slew of measures including waiving off charges on ATM withdrawals from any bank ATM for three months. The minimum balance required for maintaining savings account has also been done away with. The waiver is for three months.

“Debit cardholders who withdraw cash from any bank’s ATM can do it free of charge for the next 3 months. Also, a complete waiver of minimum balance charges for savings bank account,” she said.

The deadline for filing income tax (IT) returns for the financial year 2018-19, GST returns has been extended to June 30, 2020. The finance minister reduced interest rate to 9 per cent vs 18 per cent, on delayed deposit of TDS. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code proceedings have been suspended for 6 months.

The finance minister also said the customs department will be working 24/7 throughout the crisis situation so that trade and export activities do not suffer.

The finance minister said that the government is working on an economic package to help all those businesses and industry impacted by COVID-19. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set up an Economic Response Task Force under the finance minister to look into the hit taken by industry and businesses due to COVID-19 and come out with suitable measures to help them cope with the losses incurred.

Here are some of the other key points from the finance minister’s press conference held a short while back through video conferencing:

· Aadhar Card-Pan Card linking last date extended to June 30

· For companies that have less than 5 crore turnover, no interest, no late fee, no penalty will be charged. For bigger companies, late fee and penalty is waived but interest will be charged at a subsidised interest of 9%

· Newly incorporated companies have been given an additional time of 6 months to file the declaration of commencement of business

· Mandatory requirement of holding board meetings relaxed by a period of 60 days. , Relaxation for the next two quarters

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in India have increased to over 500. 10 lives lost so far as most states are under locked and many state governments have announced measures to help the under-privileged sections of the society.

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