Economic Relief Package announced for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the details of the Economic Relief Package for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” amid COVID-19 pandemic. This economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore has been announced with the prime objective of making India self-reliant.

During her address, the minister mentioned different reforms implemented till now by the Government of India. These reforms includes Direct Benefit Transfer; Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, Mobile (JAM); Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Microfinance schemes, Swachh Bharat Mission, Ayushman Bharat Yojana etc.

During her address, she mentioned that the present tranche comprises of 15 different measures according to the given composition: six for MSMEs, two for Employee provident funds, two for NBFCs, two for MFIs, one for discoms, one for real estate, three are tax related while the remaining one for contractors.

Highlights of measures announced as part of Economic Relief Package for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”:

1. For Standard MSMEs:

  • Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loan for Businesses including MSMEs. This scheme can be availed till 31st Oct, 2020.
  • Loans facility would be available for those firms with Rs 25 crore outstanding loans and annual turnover of Rs 100 crores.
  • This loan facility would be having a tenor of 4 years along with moratorium of 12 months.
  • 100% credit guarantee would be provided to banks and NBFCs on principal as well as interest.
  • There will be no guarantee fees as well as no fresh collateral required.

These reforms are expected to benefit 45 lakh business units in order to resume their business activities and safeguard jobs.

2. For stressed MSMEs:

  • GoI has announced a Subordinated Debt of Rs 20000 crores which is expected to benefit about 2 lakh MSMEs.
  • The functioning of MSMEs which are NPA or are stressed would be eligible to avail this facility.
  • GoI has announced to provide Rs 4000 crore as its contribution to Credit Guarantee Fund Trust For Micro And Small Enterprises (CGTSME).
  • The CGTSME will provide partial credit guarantee support to Banks in order to benefit the stressed MSMEs.
  • The promoters of the MSME will be given debt by banks, which would be infused by the promoter as equity in the unit.

3. For MSME having potential and which are viable:

  • A fund of fund has been created to infuse equity of worth Rs 50,000 crore in the MSME.
  • Fund of Fund with corpus of Rs 10,000 crores would be set up to provide equity funding to MSMEs with growth potential and viability.
  • This FoF would be operated via a mother fund including some daughter funds.
  • FoF is expected to benefit MSMEs by expanding size along with their capacity.
  • It will also encourage MSMEs to get listed on main board of Stock Exchanges.

4. New definition of MSMEs:

The definition of MSME has been revised by increasing the investment limit of MSME, introducing an additional criteria of turnover as well as removing the distinction between manufacturing and service sector MSME. The new definition is as follow:

  • For Micro enterprise: Investment of upto Rs 1 crore and turnover of upto Rs 5 crore.
  • For Small enterprise: Investment of upto Rs 10 crore and turnover of upto Rs 50 crore.
  • For Medium enterprise: Investment of upto Rs 20 crore and turnover of upto Rs 100 crore.

5. For government procurement, tenders upto Rs 200 crores will no longer be on global tender route.

6. E-market linkage would be provided to the MSMEs in order to enable them to access the markets as they would not be able to participate in Trade Fairs and Exhibitions which are difficult to organised because of COVID-19. The CPSEs and GoI will clear all the receivables of MSMEs within next 45 days.

7. Employees Provident Fund:

Liquidity relief is being given for all EPF establishments. Under Pradhan Mantri Garib kalyan Package (PMGKP), payments of 12% of employer and 12% employee contribution was made into EPF accounts of eligible establishments.

  • EPF contribution has been extended for the month of June, July & August and would be paid by the GoI, providing a liquidity support of Rs 2500 Crore and benefitting 72.22 lakhs of employees.
  • To provide more take home salary to employees and also to give relief to employers, the statutory PF contribution of both employer and employee will be reduced to 10% each from existing 12% each for all establishments covered by EPFO for next 3 months. The CPSEs and State PSUs will continue to contribute 12% as employer contribution.
  • It would be applicable for workers who are not eligible for 24% EPF support under PM Garib Kalyan Package and its extension.
  • It will provide liquidity of Rs 6750 Crore to employers and employees over 3 months.

8. For Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFCs)/ Housing Finance Companies (HFCs)/ Micro finance Institutions (MFIs)

  • Government will launch a Rs 30,000 crore Special Liquidity Scheme under which investment will be made in both primary and secondary market transactions in investment grade debt paper of NBFCs/HFCs/MFIs.
  • It will supplement RBI/Government measures to increase liquidity.
  • All the securities under this scheme would be fully guaranteed by GoI.

9. Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme 2.0 for NBFCs

Existing PCGS scheme would be extended to cover borrowings such as that of primary issuance of Bonds/ Commercial Papers (liability side of balance sheets) of such entities.

  • In this, first 20% of loss will be borne by the Guarantor i.e. the Government of India.
  • Under this scheme, AA paper and below, including unrated paper would also be eligible for investments (esp. relevant for many MFIs).
  • This scheme is expected to result in liquidity of Rs 45,000 crores.

10. In order to help Power Distribution Companies (DISCOMS), PFC/REC will infuse liquidity of Rs. 90,000 Crore to DISCOMs against receivables.

  • Loans would be given against state guarantees for exclusive purpose of discharging liabilities of Discoms to Gencos.
  • Central Public Sector Generation Companies shall give rebate to Discoms which shall be passed on to the final consumers (industries).

11. For Contractors:

All Central Agencies such as Railways, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Central Public Works Dept, etc will provide extension of up to 6 months without costs to
contractor. This extension will cover:

  • construction/works and goods and services contracts.
  • obligations like completion of work, intermediate milestones etc. as well as extension of Concession period in PPP contracts.

12. For Real Estate Sector

Some measures have been announced to de-stress real estate developers and ensure completion of projects so that home buyers are able to get delivery of their booked houses with new timelines. Accordingly, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs will advise States/UTs and their Regulatory Authorities to the following effect:

  • Treat COVID-19 as an event of ‘Force Majeure’ under RERA.
  • Extend the registration and completion date suo-moto by 6 months for all registered projects expiring on or after 25th March, 2020 without individual applications.
  • Regulatory Authorities may extend this for another period of upto 3 months, if needed
  • Issue fresh ‘Project Registration Certificates’ automatically with revised timelines.
  • Extend timelines for various statuary compliances under RERA concurrently.

13. Liquidity of Rs 50000 crore through Tax Deduction at Source (TDS)/Tax Collection at Source (TCS) rate reduction.

  • To provide more funds at the disposal of the taxpayers, the rates of Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) for non-salaried specified payments made to residents and rates of Tax Collection at Source (TCS) for the specified receipts shall be reduced by 25% of the existing rates.
  • Payment for contract, professional fees, interest, rent, dividend, commission, brokerage, etc. shall be eligible for this reduced rate of TDS.
  • This reduction shall be applicable for the remaining part of the FY 2020-21 i.e. from 14th May, 2020 to 31st March, 2021.

14. Other Direct Tax Measures

  • All pending refunds to charitable trusts and non-corporate businesses & professions including proprietorship, partnership, LLP and Co-operatives shall be issued immediately.
  • Due date of all income-tax return for FY 2019-20 will be extended from 31st July, 2020 & 31st October, 2020 to 30th November, 2020 and Tax audit from 30th September, 2020 to 31st October, 2020.
  • Date of assessments getting barred on 30th September,2020 extended to 31st December,2020 and those getting barred on 31st March, 2021 will be extended to 30th September,2021.
  • Period of Vivad se Vishwas Scheme for making payment without additional amount will be extended to 31st December,2020.

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