Government announces various relief measures for taxpayers under GST law

In view of the challenges faced by taxpayers in meeting the statutory and regulatory compliances under Goods & Services Tax (GST) law due to the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has issued notifications, all dated 1st May, 2021, providing various relief measures for taxpayers. These measures are explained below:

  1. Reduction in rate of interest:

Concessional rates of interest in lieu of the normal rate of interest of 18% per annum for delayed tax payments have been prescribed in the following cases.

  1. For registered persons having aggregate turnover above Rs. 5 crore: A lower rate of interest of 9 per cent for the first 15 days from the due date of payment of tax and 18 per cent thereafter, for the tax payable for tax periods March 2021 and April 2021, payable in April 2021 and May 2021 respectively, has been notified.
  2. For registered persons having aggregate turnover upto Rs. 5 crore: Nil rate of interest for the first 15 days from the due date of payment of tax, 9 per cent for the next 15 days, and 18 per cent thereafter, for both normal taxpayers and those under QRMP scheme, for the tax payable for the periods March 2021 and April 2021, payable in April 2021 and May 2021 respectively, has been notified.
  3. For registered persons who have opted to pay tax under the Composition scheme: NIL rate of interest for first 15 days from the due date of payment of tax and 9 per cent for the next 15 days, and 18 per cent thereafter has been notified for the tax payable for the quarter ending 31st March, 2021, payable in April 2021.
  4. Waiver of late fee
  5. For registered persons having aggregate turnover above Rs. 5 crore: Late fee waived for 15 days in respect of returns in FORM GSTR-3B furnished beyond the due date for tax periods March, 2021 and April, 2021, due in the April 2021 and May 2021 respectively;
  6. For registered persons having aggregate turnover upto Rs. 5 crore: Late fee waived for 30 days in respect of the returns in FORM GSTR-3B furnished beyond the due date for tax periods March, 2021 and April, 2021 (for taxpayers filing monthly returns) due in April 2021 and May 2021 respectively / and for period Jan-March, 2021 (for taxpayers filing quarterly returns under QRMP scheme) due in April 2021.
  7. Extension of due date of filing GSTR-1, IFF, GSTR-4 and ITC-04
  8. Due date of filing FORM GSTR-1 and IFF for the month of April (due in May) has been extended by 15 days.
  9. Due date of filing FORM GSTR-4 for FY 2020-21 has been extended from 30th April, 2021 to 31st May, 2021.
  10. Due date of furnishing FORM ITC-04 for Jan-March, 2021 quarter has been extended from 25th April, 2021 to 31st May, 2021.
  11. Certain amendments in CGST Rules:
  12. Relaxation in availment of ITC: Rule 36(4) i.e. 105% cap on availment of ITC in FORM GSTR-3B to be applicable on cumulative basis for period April and May 2021, to be applied in the return for tax period May 2021. Otherwise, rule 36(4) is applicable for each tax period.
  13. The filing of GSTR-3B and GSTR-1/ IFF by companies using electronic verification code has already been enabled for the period from the 27.04.2021 to 31.05.2021.
  14. Extension in statutory time limits under section 168A of the CGST Act: Time limit for completion of various actions, by any authority or by any person, under the GST Act, which falls during the period from 15th April, 2021 to 30th May, 2021, has been extended upto 31st May, 2021, subject to some exceptions as specified in the notification.

India’s merchandise exports in April 2021 was USD 30.21 billion

India’s merchandise exports in April 2021 was USD 30.21 billion, an increase of 197.03%  over USD 10.17 billion in April 2020 and an increase of 16.03% over USD 26.04 billion in April 2019.

India’s merchandise imports in April 2021 was USD 45.45 billion, with an increase of 165.99% over USD 17.09 billion in April 2020 and an increase of 7.22% over USD 42.39 billion in April 2019.

India is thus a net importer in April 2021 with a trade deficit of USD 15.24 billion, which increased by 120.34% over trade deficit of USD 6.92 billion in April 2020 and declined by 6.81% over trade deficit of USD 16.35 billion in April 2019.

In April 2021, the value of non-petroleum exports was USD 26.85 billion, registering a positive growth of 200.62% over USD 8.93 billion in April 2020 and a positive growth of 19.44% over USD 22.48 billion in April 2019. The value of non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in April 2021 was USD 23.51 billion, registering a positive growth of 164.28% over USD 8.90 billion in April 2020 and a positive growth of 19.89% over USD 19.61 billion in April 2019.

In April 2021, Oil imports was USD 10.8 billion, a positive growth of 132.26% compared to USD 4.65 billion in April 2020 and a negative growth of 6.62 compared to USD 11.56 billion in April 2019.

Non-oil imports in April 2021 was estimated at USD 34.65 billion, showing an increase of 178.6% compared to USD 12.44 billion in April 2020 and an increase of 12.42% compared to USD 30.82 billion in April 2019.

Non-oil, non-GJ (gold, silver &Precious metals) imports was USD 26.05 billion in April 2021, recording a positive growth of 111.3%, as compared to non-oil and non-GJ imports of USD 12.33 billion in April 2020 and a positive growth of 6.48% over USD 24.46 billion in April 2019.

All Major commodities have recorded positive growth in export during April 2021 vis-à-vis April 2020 namely, Gems and Jewellery (9158.63%), Jute mfg. Including floor covering (1556.39%), Carpet (1351.48%), Handicrafts excl. Hand-made carpet (1207.98%), Leather and leather manufactures (1168.96%), RMG of All Textiles (920.52%), Cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products etc. (616.6%), Man-made yarn/fabrics/made-ups etc. (583.53%), Ceramic products and glassware (441.57%), Other cereals (441.46%), Electronic Goods (362.86%), Oil meals (275.91%), Cashew (252.46%), Mica, coal and other ores, minerals including process (234.63%), Engineering goods (234.63%), Tobacco (183.86%), Iron ore (175.15%), Petroleum products (171.11%), Cereal preparations and miscellaneous processed item (170.86%), Oil Seeds (166.24%), Meat, dairy and poultry products (148.6%), Tea (143.04%), Marine products (107.59%), Spices (102.32%), Coffee (73.83%), Organic and Inorganic Chemicals (69.39%), Rice (60.29%), Plastic and linoleum (47.49%), Fruits and vegetables (21.82%), and Drugs and pharmaceuticals (20.68%).

Raksha Mantri reviews efforts of MoD & Armed Forces in fight against second COVID-19 wave

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh reviewed the efforts of Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces to support the civilian administration in the fight against the current COVID-19 situation in the country, through video conferencing on May 01, 2021. The meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria, Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) Surgeon Vice Admiral Rajat Datta, Deputy Chief Integrated Defence Staff (Medical) Lieutenant General Madhuri Kanitkar and Additional Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Sanjay Jaju and other senior officials of MoD.

Shri Rajnath Singh was briefed that approximately 600 additional doctors are being mobilised through special measures such as calling to duty those who had retired in the last few years. The Indian Navy has deployed 200 Battle Field Nursing Assistants to assist in various hospitals. The National Cadet Corps (NCC) has deployed 300 cadets and staff at various locations in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Haryana. A tele medicine service, to be operated by health veterans, will begin soon to provide consultation to those patients who remain at home. Indian Army has made available more than 720 beds for civilians in various states. The Raksha Mantri directed the Army to share the details with local administration at the state and district levels. General Bipin Rawat suggested that local Military commands have to be actively engaged in assisting the civil administration.

Shri Rajnath Singh was briefed that the 500-bed hospital being set up DRDO in Lucknow will start functioning in the next 2-3 days. Another hospital is also being set up in Varanasi which is scheduled to be completed by 5thMay. The DRDO Chairman said the first four out of 380 Oxygen PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) plants being manufactured under PM CARES fund will be deployed in hospitals in New Delhi by next week.

Raksha Mantri appreciated the logistics support being provided by the Armed Forces in transporting oxygen containers from abroad as well as within the country between places of consumption and production. While transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out several sorties from Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and within the country, Indian Navy dispatched four ships – two to Middle east and two to South East Asia – to transport filled oxygen containers to India. As on May 01, 2021, IAF carried out 28 sorties from abroad, airlifting 47 oxygen containers with 830 MT of capacity, while from within the country, it carried out 158 sorties, airlifting 109 containers with 2,271 MT capacity. The Navy and the Air Force have also supplied nearly 500 portable oxygen cylinders from their stores to various civilian hospitals.

Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) are procuring 28 oxygen plants and other medical equipment worth Rs 40 crore under CSR for supplying to various hospitals in states. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has set up a 250-bed hospital in Bengaluru. Another 250-bed hospital is being set up in Lucknow.

Shri Rajnath Singh reiterated that the Armed Forces should provide all necessary assistance to civilian administration and asked the officials of Ministry of Defence and the three Services to closely monitor the progress of various initiatives.

Government targets road construction worth Rs.15 lakh crore in next two years

Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Shri Nitin Gadkari said that the Government is giving utmost priority to the development of infrastructure and has set a target of road construction of worth Rs.15 lakh crores in next two years.

Shri Gadkari was confident that the Ministry for Road Transport & Highways will achieve target of 40 kilometres per day of highways construction in current fiscal. He said that the Government is permitting 100% FDI in road sector.

The Minister said that in India, projects like National Infrastructure pipeline for 2019-2025 is the first of its kind and government is committed to provide world class infra to its citizens and improving quality of their lives. He said that under the NIP, there are over 7,300 projects to be implemented at a total outlay of Rs. 111 lakh crore by year 2025. He said that the NIP aims at improving project preparation, and attract investment into infrastructure like highways, railways, ports, airports, mobility, energy and agriculture and rural industry.

Addressing the Indo–U.S. Partnership Vision Summit through video conferencing yesterday, the Minister said that in the new era of bilateral relations, the national interests of India and the United States are converging and there is growing confidence between both the administrations that all outstanding trade issues will be resolved and major trade agreements will be signed soon. The Minister invited the U.S. companies to invest in infrastructure and MSME sectors in India.

GST Revenue collection for April’ 21 sets new record

The gross GST revenue collected in the month of April’ 2021 is at a record high of Rs. 1,41,384 crore of which CGST is Rs. 27,837 crore, SGST is Rs. 35,621, IGST is Rs 68,481 crore (including Rs. 29,599 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess is Rs. 9,445 crore (including Rs. 981 crore collected on import of goods). Despite the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic affecting several parts of the country, Indian businesses have once again shown remarkable resilience by not only complying with the return filing requirements but also paying their GST dues in a timely manner during the month.

The GST revenues during April 2021 are the highest since the introduction of GST even surpassing collections in the last month (March’2021). In line with the trend of recovery in the GST revenues over past six months, the revenues for the month of April 2021 are 14% higher than the GST revenues in the last month of March’2021. During the month, the revenues from domestic transaction (including import of services) are 21% higher than the revenues from these sources during the last month.

GST revenues have not only crossed the Rs. 1 lakh crore mark during successively for the last seven months but have also shown a steady increase. These are clear indicators of sustained economic recovery during this period. Closer monitoring against fake-billing, deep data analytics using data from multiple sources including GST, Income-tax and Customs IT systems and effective tax administration have also contributed to the steady increase in tax revenue. Quarterly return and monthly payment scheme has been successfully implemented bringing relief to the small taxpayers as they now file only one return every three months. Providing IT support to taxpayers in the form of pre-filled GSTR 2A and 3B returns and ramped up System capacity have also eased the return filing process.

During this month the government has settled Rs. 29,185 crore to CGST and Rs. 22,756 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement. The total revenue of Centre and the States after regular and ad-hoc settlements in the month of April’ 2021 is Rs. 57,022 crore for CGST and Rs. 58,377 crore for the SGST.

The chart below shows trends in monthly gross GST revenues during the October’20 to Mar’20 and April’2021.

PM’s greetings on Statehood Day of Gujarat and Maharashtra

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has conveyed his greetings on Statehood Day of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

In a tweet, The Prime Minister said:

“Today, Gujarat and Maharashtra mark their Statehood Days. Both states are home to outstanding people, who have made landmark contributions to national growth. May these states fight COVID-19 successfully and may the people of these states be blessed with good health.”

PM bows to Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji on his 400th Parkash Purab

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has bowed to Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji on his 400th Parkash Purab

The Prime Minister said on Twitter:

“On the special occasion of his 400th Parkash Purab, I bow to Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji. He is widely respected globally for his courage and his efforts to serve the downtrodden. He refused to bow to tyranny and injustice. His supreme sacrifice gives strength and motivation to many.”

Council of Ministers meets to discuss the situation arising out of the second wave of COVID

The Council of Ministers met today to discuss the situation arising out of the second wave of COVID in the country.

The Council of Ministers meeting noted that the present pandemic crisis is ‘once in a century crisis’ and has thrown a big challenge for the world.

Government of India’s Team India approach to fight COVID, based on the collective efforts of the Centre, State Governments and people of India was highlighted.

PM Narendra Modi said that all arms of the Government are working unitedly & rapidly to deal with the situation. He also urged the Ministers to stay in touch with people of their respective regions, help them and keep getting their feedback. He stressed upon the need to ensure that issues at the local level are promptly identified and addressed.

The Council also reviewed all the efforts made in the last 14 months by the Central and State Governments and the people of India.

The efforts by the Central Government in coordination with the states towards building up infrastructure in the form of ramping up hospital beds, PSA oxygen facilitiesetc, resolving issues in production, storage & transport of Oxygen, tackling matters relating to availability of essential medicines were briefed. The measures being taken to further ramp up their supply and availability were also pointed out. The support measures to the vulnerable population in the form of provision of food-grains and financial support to Jan Dhan account holders were also pointed out.

It was also noted that India could successfully produce two vaccines and there are many candidates at the various stages of approval and induction. More than 15 crore vaccinations have been done as on date.

The council of Ministers also stressed the importance of Covid appropriate behaviour– wearing a mask, keeping physical distance of 6 feet and washing hands frequently.

The Council reiterated that the participation of society is a key aspect to accomplish the gigantic task ahead and expressed confidence that the country will rise to the occasion and defeat the virus.

The meeting, held through video conferencing, was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi & attended by Ministers as well Principal Secretary to PM, Cabinet Secretary. Member(Health) NITI Aayog Dr. V.K.Paul made a presentation on Management of Covid-19 pandemic.

India to import 4,50,000 vials of Remdesivir

The Government of India has started importing the vital drug Remdesivir from other countries to ease out the shortage of Remdesivir in the country. The first Consignment of 75000 vials will reach India today.

HLL Lifecare Ltd, a Government of India owned company has ordered 4,50,000 vials of Remdesivir  from M/s Gilead Sciences Inc USA. and Egyptian Pharma Company, M/s Eva Pharma.  It is expected that Gilead Sciences Inc. USA will dispatch 75,000 to 1,00,000 vials in the next one or two days. Further one hundred thousand quantities will also be supplied before or by May 15. EVA pharma will supply approximately 10,000 vials initially followed by 50,000 vials every 15 days or till July.

Government has ramped up the production capacity of Remdesivir in the country. As on 27.04.21, the production capacity of the seven licensed domestic manufacturers increased from 38 lakh vials per month to 1.03 crore vials per month. Total 13.73 lakh vials have been supplied across the country by the Drug companies in the last seven days (21-28 April, 2021). The daily supply has gone up from 67,900 vials on 11th April to 2.09 lakh vials on 28th April, 2021. An advisory was issued by MHA to states and UTs to facilitate smooth movement of Remdesivir supplies.

Government also prohibited the export of Remdesivir to enhance its availability in India. To ensure affordability of the injection among the masses, NPPA on April 17, 2021 released the revised maximum retail price thus bringing down the cost of all the major brands to below Rs 3500 per vial.

In order to facilitate higher production and availability of Remdesivir, the Department of Revenue vide Notification 27/2021-Customs dated 20th April exempted the whole of the duty of Customs  on Remdesivir injection, its API and Beta cyclodextrin used in manufacture of Remdesivir, till 31st October 2021.

National Treatment Protocol was updated through the Clinical guidance for Management of Adult COVID 19 patients by AIIMS/ ICMR- COVID-19 National Task Force/ Joint Monitoring group of MoHFW on 22.04.2021. The updated protocol will encourage Judicious use of Drugs and is expected to contribute to rationalising demand.

PM Condoles demise of Soli Sorabjee and Rohit Sardana

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the demise of Shri Soli Sorabjee.

In a tweet, Shri Modi said:

“Shri Soli Sorabjee was an outstanding lawyer and intellectual. Through law, he was at the forefront of helping the poor and downtrodden. He will be remembered for his noteworthy tenures India’s Attorney General. Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers.”

In an another tweet Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed grief on the death of journalist Rohit Sardana.

Shri Modi said:

“Rohit Sardana left us too soon. Full of energy, passionate about India’s progress and a kind hearted soul, Rohit will be missed by many people. His untimely demise has left a huge void in the media world. Condolences to his family, friends and admirers. Om Shanti.”

Government of India to provide Rs 15,000 crore to States for Capital Expenditure

The Ministry of Finance, Government of India has decided to provide an additional amount of uptoRs 15,000 crore to Statesas interest free 50 year loan for spending on capital projects. The Department of Expenditure has issued fresh guidelines in this regard on the “Scheme of Financial Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure”  for the financial year 2021-22.The Finance Minister had in her budget speech announced that the Centre would take measures to nudge States to spend more on infrastructure and to incentivize disinvestment of their public sector enterprises.

Capital expenditure creates employment, especially for the poor and unskilled, has a high multiplier effect, enhances the future productive capacity of the economy, and results in a higher rate of economic growth.Therefore, despite the adverse financial position of the Central Government, it was decided last year to launch a “Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure”.

Under the Scheme, financial assistance is provided to the State Governments in the form of 50-year interest free loan. An amount not exceeding Rs.12,000 crore was earmarked for the scheme for the financial year 2020-21, and a sum of Rs.11,830.29 crore was released to the States.  This helped to sustain state level capital expenditure in the pandemic year.

In view of the positive response to the scheme and considering the requests of the State Governments, the Government has decided to continue the scheme in the year 2021-22.

The Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure for 2021-22 has three Parts:

  1. Part-I: This part of the scheme is for the North-East and Hill States and an amount of Rs.2,600 crore has been earmarked for this part. Out of this, Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand will get Rs 400 crore each while remaining States in this group have been allocated Rs 200 crore each.
  2. Part-II: This part of the scheme is for all other States not included in Part-I. An amount of Rs 7,400 crore is earmarked for this part. This amount has been allocated amongst these States in proportion to their share of central taxes as per the award of the 15th Finance Commission for the year 2021-22.
  3. Part-III: This part of the scheme is for providing incentives to States for monetization/recycling of infrastructure assets and disinvestment of the State Public Sector Enterprises (SPSEs).  An amount of Rs.5,000 crore is allocated for this part of the scheme. Under this part, States will receive interest free 50 years loan ranging from 33% to 100% of the amount realised by them, through assets monetization, listing and disinvestment.

Monetization of assets unlocks their value, eliminates their holding cost and enables scarce public funds to be deployed to new projects, thus speeding up the implementation of the National Infrastructure Pipeline.

Funds provided to the States under the scheme by the Government of India shall be used for new and ongoing capital projects, for long term benefit to the State. The funds may also be used for settling pending bills in ongoing capital projects.

Cantonment Boards assisting civilian administration in fight against COVID-19 surge

Cantonment Boards have extended a helping hand to civil administration/State Governments in various parts of the country to tide over the current COVID-19 situation. They are providing support to not just its residents, but to all those in need of medical assistance.

Presently 39 Cantonment Boards (CB) are maintaining 40 general hospitals with 1,240 beds. The CB hospitals at Pune, Kirkee and Deolali with 304 beds have been designated as dedicated COVID hospitals. Cantonment General Hospitals (CGHs) of Kirkee, Deolali, Dehuroad, Jhansi and Ahmednagar have been designated as COVID care centres with 418 beds. A dedicated COVID health centre at Dehuroad is ready and would become functional soon, while ICU facility with six beds is being set up at CGH, Kirkee. Oxygen support is available in 37 CBs and presently they have a stock of 658 cylinders.

Fever clinics have also been set up in all 39 CGHs, where patients with COVID-19 symptoms referred to the designated COVID-19 treatment facilities. Rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests are being regularly organised in coordination with district administration, while vaccination centres have also been set up in most of the Cantonments.

Dedicated teams are regularly sanitising public places inside the Cantonment areas and the residents are being encouraged to use online services through e-Chhawani portal. Cantonment boards are the civic body under Ministry of Defence across the country.

Following the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh held review meetings on 20th April and again on 24 April and directed the Armed Forces and various other establishments of Ministry of Defence to extend all possible assistance to the civilian administration to tide over the present situation. He underlined that people look up to the Armed Forces in times of crisis as they have great hope and trust in them.