In the current dismal situation of business activities in the Country due to covid pandemic, the entire non-corporate sector is greatly feeling the heat and brunt of covid which has brought the business activities in the Country to a grinding halt. Quoting an estimated business loss of Rs.7 lakh crore in past 40 days across the Country due to lockdown, partial lockdown, curfew, night curfew and other similar restrictions in almost all the States which has badly hit the non-corporate sector including traders, transporters, self employed persons, startups etc, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a communication sent today to Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sithraman has sought several immediate financial relief measures and extension of various statutory due dates under GST and Income Tax.
CAIT National President Mr. B.C.Bhartia & Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal while appreciating various aggressive steps taken by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the Union Government to help the States in their fight against covid pandemic, the CAIT said that announcement of extension of some of the due dates under GST and Income Tax by the Finance Ministry has brought some immediate relief to the traders. However, the shops and markets closed under lockdown has resulted into blockage of inflow of money whereas the outflow of money still continues for making mandatory expenses pertaining to family needs and unavoidable establishment expenses like salary to the employees, rent of shops & godowns, EMIs to be paid to the Banks and other financial institutions, interest on the loans obtained by traders for business activities, home loans and various other incidental expenses , the traders have been forced to eat their own capital which is a major destruction for future of their business. Quoting Chanakya who said that “capital eating in any business leads to destruction of the economy of the Country”, the CAIT has called upon Smt. Sitharaman to take certain steps which can relive the traders from the financial load and compliance of the rules, for the time being.
Mr. Bhartia and Mr. Khandelwal in communication sent to Smt Sitharaman have urged that all statutory dates under GST and Income Tax by which either tax is to be paid or return has to be filed, may be extended till 31st August,2021. The Challan should be treated as a document of payment and not Form GSTR -3B under GST, this will encourage the tax payer to pay tax early and the government too will get the taxes in time. The changes brought in procedures through Notification No. 01/2021 – Central Tax New Delhi, the 1 st January, 2021 & Notification No. 94 /2020 – Central Tax New Delhi, the 22nd December, 2020 should be deferred till the same are not discussed with all stakeholders and State GST Commissioners. The introduction of the above two Notifications have put clutches to the hands of honest tax-payers as well. A businessman cannot be restricted from filing his returns for any reason nor can he be deprived of the ITC which he has already paid against its inward supplies and also his number cannot be suspended without providing him with an opportunity of hearing. The changes brought through the current budget may be deferred till the same are not discussed with all stakeholders and State GST Commissioners..
Both trade leaders further urged that the Banks should be directed not to charge any interest on the loans for the period of lockdown and a moratorium of six months may be allowed to pay the EMIs of the loans or squaring up the loans and advances. To facilitate the small traders to keep business activities running, a ” Corona Loan” may be given to traders at a reasonable rate of interest with limited KYC to enable particularly the small traders having a turnover of up to Rs.10 crore. The traders should be brought under the ambit of MSME. Earlier, the traders were part of the MSME but by an office order in 2017, they were excluded from the purview of MSME. The relief announced by RBI Governor is applicable to MSME only. The traders can not take advantage of the scheme as they have been eliminated under MSME. Therefore, in pursuance of the intent of the Government to provide relief to small sectors, the traders should be included under the purview of MSME. The salaries of the lockdown period of the employees who are registered under ESI may be given from the ESI welfare fund which is having an accumulated balance of about Rs. 60 thousand crores, to the best of our knowledge. The CAIT also recalled that in any package which was announced last year, the traders were not given a single penny. It is requested that a suitable package may be announced for the traders which will enable them to continue their business activities in a smooth manner.
Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal have also urged the Finance Minister Smt. Sithraman to also assist in extension of date of implementation of hallmarking from 1st June,2021 to further suitable period. The CAIT has also sought an appointment with FM Smt. Sithraman to discuss the issues in question and the areas where more than 40 thousand trade associations can join the Government in its fight against covid pandemic.