Highlights of Economic Reforms announced by our FM
As all are aware the Indian Economy is facing a slow-down. There is a fear of unemployment on a large scale in private sector. There was a pressure on government to come with relief measures to save the economy and depressed capital market. Finance Minister Mrs. Sitharaman announced certain measures to revive economy and capital market. She has also assured further measures in a short-while to stimulate economy. The following is the summary of measures announced by the Finance Minister on 23rd August 2019:
- Income Tax:
- Enhanced surcharge levied on short term and long term capital gain as announced in recent budget has been withdrawn. The withdrawal of surcharge applies to capital gain arising from equity shares/unit referred to in Section 111A and 112A.
- To mitigate with complaints of harassment of taxpayer on account of issue of notices summons order and other correspondence by Income Tax authority, it has now been announced that on or after 1st October 2019 all notices summons orders etc. issued by the Income tax department shall only be issued through a centralized computer system. All such documents shall contain a computer generated Unique Document Identification Number. Any communication issued without such identification number shall be invalid in Law. Old notices issued before 1st October shall either been disposed of or shall be uploaded again through centralized computer system. Also, all notices issued after 1st October 2019 shall be disposed of within 3 months from the date of reply by the assesse.
- Angel Tax provisions under Section 56(2)(viib) of the Income Tax Act shall not be applicable to all startup units registered with DPIIT. For quick disposal of Income Tax issues faced by startup unit a specific cell shall be started under a member of CBDT.
- An additional depreciation of 15 % shall be allowed on all vehicles acquired during the period from now to 31st March 2020 (a total of 30% depreciation shall be allowed on such vehicles).
In order to infuse funds in the banking system, following measures have been announced:
- Government shall immediately release Rs. 70,000 crores to public sector banks by Means of Capital. Further additional liquidity to the tune of Rs. 5,00,000 crores shall also be provided to public sector bank over a period of time. This measure is going to benefit immensely to all small borrowers, small and medium enterprises and corporate houses. The idea of infusing fund appears to be for making easy credit facility available to all segment of economy.
- Bank shall directly link repo rate to interest rate. This means any such rate cuts shall result in reduced EMI for all types of loan including vehicle loan, housing loan etc. This measure would also result in availability of working capital at a cheaper rate of interest.
- One time settlement of loans and credit facility shall be easier. The OTS shall depend on certain specific criteria to be complied with by borrowers. This policy change is going to benefit MSE and small borrowers. Also the system of OTS would now be more transparent.
- The banking customer would now be able to track the status of their all kinds of loan applications online. The customers would also be able to track renewal enhancement of limits, etc.
- In order to protect honest decision making by banking officials in the commercial matters, it has been specified that internal advisory committee shall classify cases as vigilant and non-vigilant.
- It is made mandatory by public sector bank to return loan documents belonging to borrowers within a period of 15 days of closure of loan.
- Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFC):
A number of welcome measures are announced to infuse liquidity in NBFC and HFC (Housing Finance Companies)
- National Housing Board (NHB) would release additional liquidity to the tune of Rs. 20,000/- crores to HFC. This should enable more credit for purchase of houses.
- From now onwards, prepayment notices issued to NBFC are to be monitored by banks.
- To prevent repeated procedure, NBFC are now authorized to issue Aadhar authenticated Bank KYC. This would enable easy approach to consumer by NBFC.
- The public sector banks shall now make fast-track collaboration with NBFCs for loans to small traders, self-employed people and MSMEs. All the above measure would ensure more liquidity support for purchase of consumer goods, vehicle, houses etc. by small and retail borrowers.
Following provisions are announced in GST:
- All pending GST refund to MSMEs shall be paid within 30 days. All GST refund arising in future shall be paid within 60 days from the date of application.
- Bill discounting facility by PSB shall be made easily available for MSMEs which are registered in GSTN system.
- From now onwards, all GST return filing procedures shall be simplified.
- Other Measures:
- In respect of listed companies NBFC and HFC, the requirement of creation of Debenture Redemption Reserve fund has been removed.
- In respect of companies focus shall be on monetary penalties. Not fulfilling CSR shall be a civil offence and not a criminal one.
- For credit enhancement to infrastructure sector, Government is proposing to establish a specific organization.
- To enable Indian Companies to have easy and increased access to foreign funds through ADR / GDR, The Depository Receipt Scheme 2014 shall be soon made operational By SEBI.
- Aadhar based KYC shall be permitted for opening Demat account and making investment in mutual fund. This step would benefit retail and small investor to have easy market access.
- KYC procedure is simplified for FPIs.
- It is proposed to permit trading of USD- INR Derivatives in GIFT, ISFC.
- The higher one time registration fee on vehicle is deferred till the month of June 2020.
- The ban on purchase by Government of new vehicles for replacing old vehicles shall be lifted shortly. Both electric and internal combustion vehicle shall continue to be registered.
- From now onwards, delayed payment from Government department shall be closely monitored by department of expenditure.
- Bond market in India shall be deepened.
The forgoing was a summary of certain important measures taken by Government to face the problem of economic slow-down. The FM has further promised stimulus measures to be announced shortly in this regard. The measures if implemented properly shall definitely put the Indian economy in upper gear.
Shaishav Mehta (FCA)
S. D. Mehta & Co.