Blogs / Updates

Date: 02 June 2020
Direct Tax Measures:
1. Due date of filing Income-tax return for Financial Year (FY) 2019-20 extended from 31st July 2020 & 31st October 2020 to 30th November 2020.
2. Due Date of filing Tax Audit Report for FY 2019-20 extended from 30th September 2020 to 31st October 2020.
3. Due date of Assessments getting time barred on 30th September 2020 extended to 31st December 2020 and those getting time barred on 31st March 2021 extended to 30th September 2021.
4. Due date for making payment under 'Vivad se Vishwas Scheme' (Dispute to Resolution scheme) without additional amount extended to 31st December 2020.
5. To address issue of liquidity / cash crunch and ease compliance under EPF & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, the filing of monthly ECR is separated from payment of statutory contributions reported in the ECR. Henceforth, ECR can be filed by an employer without simultaneous payment of contributions. Contribution may be paid later by the employer after filing of the ECR. This is likely to entail convenience to employers as well as employees covered under the Act and Schemes.
6. Government has clarified that the provisions of section 269SU shall not be applicable to a person having only B2B transactions (i.e. no transaction with retail customer/consumer) provided at least 95% of all amounts received during the previous year (including sales, turnover or gross receipts) are not in cash.

1. Form GST PMT-09 for shifting balance available in electronic cash ledger.
2. Form GSTR-3B (summary return) can now be filed through Electronic Verification Code (EVC) / Short Message Service (SMS).
3. CBIC extends GST annual return filing date for FY 2018-19.
4. Form GST ITC-02A live on GST Portal for transfer of Input Tax Credit (ITC).
5. Government has enabled Form GST ITC-02A on the GST portal wherein a registered person gives a declaration of unutilized ITC transferred for obtaining a separate registration within the same state or union territory. Rule 41A of the CGST Rules, 2017 deals with transfer of credit on obtaining separate registration for multiple places of business within a state or union territory.

1. Considering that many employers are not being able to function normally and are facing problems in using their digital signatures or Aadhaar based e-sign on EPFO portal, EPFO has decided to accept requests through email also. Employers can send scanned copy of signed request letter to the regional office through email.
2. Keeping in view the above situation and to further ease the compliance procedure under EPF & MP Act, 1952, the filing of monthly Electronic-Challan cum Return (ECR) is separated from Payment of the statutory contributions reported in the ECR. The ECR can now onwards be filed by an employer without the need of simultaneous payment of contributions and contributions may be paid later by the employer after filing the ECR.

Date: 31 May 2020
MHA issues new Guidelines: Phased re-opening of all activities outside Containment Zones (Unlock 1)
Strict enforcement of lockdown in Containment Zones New MHA guidelines

▪ Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines today, for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones.
▪ The guidelines will come into effect from June 1, 2020 and will be effective till June 30, 2020. The current phase of re-opening, Unlock 1, will have an economic focus.
▪ MHA order of March 24, 2020 imposed a strict lockdown throughout the country. Only essential activities were permitted. All other activities were prohibited.
▪ Subsequently, in a graded manner and keeping the overarching objective of containing the spread of COVID-19 in view, the lockdown measures have been relaxed.
▪ New guidelines have been issued today based on extensive consultations held with States and UTs.

1.  Salient features of the new guidelines

▪ All activities that were prohibited earlier will be opened up in areas outside Containment Zones in a phased manner, with the stipulation of following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to be prescribed by the Health Ministry:
  ▫ In Phase I, religious places and places of worship for public; hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services; and shopping malls; will be permitted to open from June 8, 2020. Health Ministry will issue SOPs for the above activities, in consultation with the Central Ministries/ Departments concerned and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19.

  ▫ In Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and UTs. State Governments/ UT administrations are being advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in the month of July, 2020. MoHFW will prepare SOP for these institutions.

  ▫ Only a limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country. These activities are: International air travel of passengers; operation of Metro Rail; cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations. In Phase III, dates for their opening will be decided based on assessment of the situation.

▪ Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones. These will be demarcated by the State/ UT Governments, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry. Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.

2.  Unrestricted movement of persons and goods
▪ There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.
▪ However, if a State/ UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate movement of persons, it will give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movement, and the related procedures to be followed.
▪ Night Curfew shall continue to remain in force, on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities. However, the revised timings of the curfew will be from 9 pm to 5 am.
▪ National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing.
▪ States to decide on activities outside Containment Zones. States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
▪ Protection for vulnerable persons: i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

3.  Use of Aarogya Setu
▪ The Aarogya Setu mobile application is a powerful tool built by Government of India to facilitate quick identification of persons infected by COVID-19, or at risk of being infected, thus acting as a shield for individuals and the community. With a view to ensure safety, various authorities are advised to encourage the use of the application.

Date: 24 May 2020
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: Reduction in statutory rate of EPF contribution from 12% to 10%

Q. 1: What is revised rate of EPF contribution announced by the Central Govt. under Atmanirbhar Bharat package?
Ans: Under this package the statutory rate of EPF contribution of both employer and employee has been reduced to 10 percent of basic wages and dearness allowances from existing rate of 12 percent for all class of establishments covered under the EPF & MP Act, 1952.

Q. 2: What is the objective of reduction in rate of contributions?
Ans: Reduction in rate of EPF contributions from 12% to 10% of basic wages and Dearness allowances is intended to benefit both 4.3 crore employees/members and employers of 6.5 lakhs establishments to tide over the immediate liquidity crisis to some extent during Pandemic situation.

Q. 3: Whether any notification has been issued under the EPF & MP Act, 1952 for reducing the rate of contributions? If so, how can I access the notification?
Ans: The reduction in statutory rate of contributions from 12% to 10% for wage months May, 2020, June, 2020 and July, 2020 has been notified vide SO 1513 (E) dated 18.05.2020 published in the Gazette of India. The notification is available under the TAB- COVID-19 on the home page of EPFO website.

Q. 4: What is the period for which reduced rate of contribution is applicable?
Ans: The statutory rate of contribution will be 10% for wage months- May, 2020, June, 2020 and July, 2020.

Q. 5: Who are eligible for the reduced rate of contributions?
Ans: It is applicable to all class of establishments covered under the EPF & MP Act, 1952, except the establishments like Central and State Public Sector enterprises or any other establishment owned or controlled by or under control of the Central Govt. or State Govt. The reduced rate is also not applicable to establishments eligible for PMGKY benefits, since the entire employees EPF contributions (12% of wages) and employers' EPF & EPS contribution (12% of wages), totalling 24% of the monthly wages is being contributed by the Central Govt.

Q. 6: Are exempted establishments eligible for reduced rate of contribution?
Ans: Yes. The reduced rate is applicable to exempted establishments also.

Q. 7: How does the reduced rate of contributions help the employees and employer?
Ans: As a result of reduction in statutory rate of contributions from 12% to 10%, the employee shall have a higher take home pay due to reduction in deduction from his pay on account of EPF contributions and employer shall also have his liability reduced by 2% of wages of his employees. If Rs.10000/- is monthly EPF wages, only Rs.1000/- instead of Rs.1200/- is deducted from employee's wages and employer pays Rs.1000/- instead of Rs.1200/- towards EPF contributions.

Q. 8: I get salary under Cost to Company (CTC) model; will the reduced rate of contributions from 12% to 10% still benefit me?
Ans: In Cost to Company (CTC) model, if Rs.10000/- is monthly EPF wages, in CTC Model the employee gets Rs.200/- more directly from employer as employer's EPF/EPS contribution is reduced and Rs.200/- less is deducted from his/her wages.

Q. 9: Is the 10% rate of contribution applicable to establishments which get registered with EPFO during wage months May 2020, June 2020 and July 2020?
Ans: Yes. Establishments covered during wage months of May-July, 2020 will be eligible for reduced rate for eligible remaining period from date of coverage.

Q. 10: What will be rate of contribution for administrative charges and insurance?
Ans: There is no change in the EPF administrative charges (0.5% of EPF wages subject to minimum prescribed) and EDLI contributions (0.5% of wages) both payable by employers.

Q. 11: How is benefit availed? One has to pay at full rate and claim reimbursement later or direct payment at reduced rate can be made.
Ans: Establishment has to remit dues at reduced rate through the Electronic-Challan cum Return (ECR) itself.

Q. 12: Can the employer or employee pay at higher rate or the contribution rate of 10% is mandatory?
Ans: The reduced rate of contribution (10%) is minimum rate of contribution during period of the package. The employer, employee or both can contribute at higher rate also.

Q. 13: How the reduced rate of contribution will impact amount of pension in longer run?
Ans: The EPS contributions 8.33% of wages (subject to ceiling of Rs.15000/-) is diverted from employer's share of EPF contributions. The reduced rate of EPF contributions to 10% will not reduce the pension contributions or benefits.

Q. 14: My establishment will not be able to remit dues timely during the scheme period. Is it still eligible for reduced rate of contribution?
Ans: Yes, the rate of contributions is 10% for the three wage months- May, 2020, June, 2020 and July, 2020 irrespective of date of payment.

Q. 15: Is the option to contribute at reduced rate available to establishments availing PMRPY benefits?
Ans: Yes. The establishment availing PMRPY benefits can remit contribution at reduced rate.

Q. 16: The rate of contribution for my establishment is 10% as it is engaged in manufacturing of gaur gum. Will the rate of contribution be further reduced for my establishment?
Ans: The establishments, which were already entitled to reduced rate of contribution (10%) through the SO 320 (E) dated 09.04.1997 are not eligible for any further reduction in rate of contribution.

Date: 24 May 2020
The Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) has been formulated as a specific response to the unprecedented situation caused by COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown, which has severely impacted manufacturing and other activities in the MSME sector. The Scheme aims at mitigating the economic distress being faced by MSMEs by providing them additional funding of up to Rs. 3 lakh crore in the form of a fully guaranteed emergency credit line. The main objective of the Scheme is to provide an incentive to Member Lending Institutions (MLIs), i.e., Banks, Financial Institutions (FIs) and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to increase access to, and enable availability of additional funding facility to MSME borrowers, in view of the economic distress caused by the COVID-19 crisis, by providing them 100 per cent guarantee for any losses suffered by them due to non- repayment of the GECL funding by borrowers.

The salient features of the Scheme include:
  ● All MSME borrower accounts with outstanding credit of up to Rs. 25 crore as on 29.2.2020 which were less than or equal to 60 days past due as on that date, i.e., regular, SMA 0 and SMA 1 accounts, and with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 100 crore would be eligible for GECL funding under the Scheme.
  ● The amount of GECL funding to eligible MSME borrowers either in the form of additional working capital term loans (in case of banks and FIs), or additional term loans (in case of NBFCs) would be up to 20% of their entire outstanding credit up to Rs. 25 crore as on 29th February, 2020.
  ● The entire funding provided under GECL shall be provided with a 100% credit guarantee by NCGTC to MLIs under ECLGS.
  ● Tenor of loan under Scheme shall be four years with moratorium period of ?one year on the principal amount.
  ● No Guarantee Fee shall be charged by NCGTC from the Member Lending ?Institutions (MLIs) under the Scheme.
  ● Interest rates under the Scheme shall be capped at 9.25% for banks and FIs, ?and at 14% for NBFCs.

Implementation schedule:

The Scheme would be applicable to all loans sanctioned under GECL during the period from the date of announcement of the Scheme to 31.10.2020, or till an amount of Rs three lakh crore is sanctioned under the GECL, whichever is earlier.

The Scheme has been formulated as a specific response to the unprecedented situation caused by COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown, which has severely impacted manufacturing and other activities in the MSME sector. In view of the critical role of the MSME sector in the economy and in providing employment, the proposed Scheme is expected to provide much needed relief to the sector by incentivizing MLIs to provide additional credit of up to Rs.3 lakh crore to the sector at low cost, thereby enabling MSMEs to meet their operational liabilities and restart their businesses. By supporting MSMEs to continue functioning during the current unprecedented situation, the Scheme is also expected to have a positive impact on the economy and support its revival.

Date: 20 May 2020
Section 6 in The Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

6. Contributions and matters which may be provided for in Schemes.-1[***] The contribution which shall be paid by the employer to the Fund shall be 2[3[ten per cent]] of the basic wages, 4[dearness allowance and retaining allowance (if any)] for the time being payable to each of the employees 5[(whether employed by him directly or by or through a contractor)], and the employees' contribution shall be equal to the contribution payable by the employer in respect of him and may, 6[if any employee so desires, be an amount exceeding 3[ten per cent.] of his basic wages, dearness allowance and retaining allowance (if any), subject to the condition that the employer shall not be under an obligation to pay any contribution over and above his contribution payable under this section]: 6[Provided that in its application to any establishment or class of establishments which the Central Government, after making such inquiry as it deems fit, may, by notification in the Official Gazette specify, this section shall be subject to the modification that for the words 7["ten per cent."], at both the places where they occur, the words 7["twelve per cent.'] shall be substituted:] Provided further that where the amount of any contribution payable under this Act involves a fraction of a rupees, the Scheme may provide for the rounding off of such fraction to the nearest rupee, half of a rupee or quarter of a rupee. 8[Explanation 1].-For the purposes of this 9[section], dearness allowance shall be deemed to include also the cash value of any food concession allowed to the employee. 10[Explanation 2.-For the purposes of this 11[section], "retaining allowance" means an allowance payable for the time being to an employee of any factory or other establishment during any period in which the establishment is not working, for retaining his services.] 12[***]

1. All the establishments covered under the EPFO including the exempted ones will be part of this ruling. However, the PF rate cut shall not be applicable to:
  a) Central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) and state public sector units for whom the employer is the government and they would continue to contribute 12% to employee's EPF account.
  b) Also, establishments that form the part of the previously announced Rs 1.7 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana will not be part of the above notification.
2. The move has been announced for a limited time period i.e. for 3 months- I.E , MAY-JUNE-JULY'2020 ONLY
3. The cut in EPF contribution will be applicable to all establishments covered under the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation or EPFO, including the exempted PF trusts.

Date: 18 May 2020
The Union government has withdrawn its order directing employers to pay wages to workers, even with units remaining shut during lockdown. On Sunday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued a fresh set of guidelines which will be applicable from Monday. It has repealed the order dated March 29, 2020 which had talked about compulsory wage payment to workers during lockdown.
"Save as otherwise provided in the guidelines annexed to this order, all order issued by the NEC [national executive committee] under Section 10(2)(I) of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, shall cease to have effect from 18.05.2020."

The annexure attached to the order mentions six sets of standard operating procedures - mostly related to movement of persons - that will continue to remain in force. But it does not include the March 29 order.
The MHA had on March 29 issued an order under Section 10(2)(I) of the DM Act asking all employers to pay wages to workers on due date without any deduction even if the establishment was closed during the lockdown period.
"All employers, be it in the industry or in the shops and commercial establishments, shall make payment of wages of their workers, at their workplaces, on the due date, without any deduction, for the period their establishments are under closure during the lockdown," the March 29 order had said.

Over the past few days, the industry had petitioned the government to withdraw its order on compulsory wage payment as they were themselves facing cash crunch issues. Some industrial bodies had also asked the government to foot the wage bills of companies through payment of grants but it was not agreed to due to fiscal constraints

The constitutional validity of the government's order on wages was challenged by several companies who had moved the Supreme Court. On Friday, the apex court asked the government not to take any coercive action against private companies who were unable to pay wages to workers. The SC was to hear the petition this week. The court, terming it as an "omnibus order", had asked the government to re-examine it.

But employers have welcomed the step, saying it was absolutely necessary especially in absence of grants from the government to the industry towards wage payment. "We have to work on the principles of 'no work no pay'. Our opinion is that organisations should be considerate towards employees and in a difficult situation like this, minimum sustenance pay should be given but where will they get the income to pay? In many countries, the government have shared the wage bill but it didn't happen in India," M.S. Unnikrishnan, chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry's committee for industrial relations said.

In its petition to the SC, Nagareeka Exports Limited had said that the payment of full salary to workers during the lockdown period when production was zero or "very minimal" would lead to closure of many micro, small and medium scale enterprises and "permanent unemployment of many people, directly affecting the economy."

Date: 15 May 2020
Notification GSR.225(E) dated 27.03.2020 inserting Sub-Para (3) under Para 68L of the EPF Scheme, 1952 to provide for non-refundable advance to EPF members in the event of outbreak of epidemic or pandemic. The notification amends the EPF Scheme, 1952 by inserting Sub-Para (3) under Para 68L of the EPF Scheme, 1952 to provide for non-refundable advance to EPF members not exceeding the basic wages and dearness allowances for three months or upto 75% of the amount standing to member's credit in the EPF account in the event of outbreak of epidemic or pandemic.

PF NOTIFICATION dated: 28th APRIL 2020, has increased uniform death relief fund from 3.9 lac to 10 lac to be paid to legal heir / nominee of the deceased employee due to COVID19 subject to necessary procedure and rules.

Date: 13 May 2020
1. Postpone travel abroad
2. Do not eat outside food, prefer vegetarian food
3. Do not go to unnecessary social events
4. Do not take unnecessary travel trips unless necessary or officially mandated
5. Completely follow government specified social distancing and safety norms
6. Stay away from a person who has cough/cold/fever or any specified precautionary norms
7. Always keep your face mask/gloves/specified PPE on as specified
8. Avoid going to the Cinema, Mall and Crowded Market/Places for 6 Months now. If possible, Park, Party, etc. should also be avoided
9. Increase immunity measures as per govt specified norms
10. Be very careful while at Barber shop or at beauty Salon parlour
11. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings, Always keep in mind Social Distancing norms
12. The threat of CORONA/COVID-19 epidemic is not going to end soon unless we all strictly adhere to govt specified norms
13. Don't wear belt, rings, wrist watch, when you go out. Watch is not required. Your mobile has got time
14. Avoid hand kerchief. Take sanitizer & tissue if required
15. Don't bring the shoes into your house. Leave them outside
16. Clean your hands & legs when you come home from outside
17. When you feel you have come nearer to a suspected patient take a thorough bath

Lockdown or no lockdown next 6 months to 12 months follow these precautions

Date: 09 May 2020
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday made it mandatory for government and private sector employees to use Aarogya Setu mobile application to bolster the efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, and entrusted the organisational heads with ensuring its 100 per cent coverage.
The Union Home Ministry also said the mobile app will be must for people living in Covid-19 containment zones.
"Use of Aarogya Setu app shall be made mandatory for all employees, both private and public. It shall be the responsibility of the head of the respective organisations to ensure 100% coverage of this app among the employees," the ministry said.

Date: 04 May 2020
Dear Patrons/Colleagues,
We are extremely proud and glad to announce TIMELY SALARY REMITTANCE to all our deputies/colleagues/Patrons to their respective bank accounts both for the months(s) of MARCH & APRIL '2020. This would not had been possible without active cooperation and assistance of our entire team and banking partner(s).
In complete observance and adherence of government notification(s) for a united fight against COVID-19 epidemic, our entire team and colleagues are working from their respective home(s) only with strict observance of social distancing norms and with limited working resources.
Patrons/colleagues, TOGETHER WE SHALL OVER COME THIS EPIDEMIC and shall RISE AND SHINE, GODSPEED ahead to all of us.