29 May, 2020
On account of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government of India has announced a slew of measures to help peopletide through it. These measures are keeping in mind the unprecedented times that have seen many losing their livelihoods, or being impacted in some way or the other. It is important to keep track of these measures to understand your liabilities and responsibilities. For example, if you have an outstanding loan, and feel that your finances impacted, and may want to defer the EMI payments, you could talk to your bank to understand the same and do so. Here are some critical inputs that you can use to make your decisions.
Income Tax Returns
Traditionally, we Indians file out IT returns by 30th Jun, and usually, we get a month or so of extension for the same. However, considering the pandemic, the Government of India, has this time extended the date of filing IT returns to 30th Nov 2020. Along with this, if you are an employer, the deadline to issue the TDS certificate (Form 16 for FY2019-20) to your employees is also extended to 30th June 2020. Also, you may submit the Form 15G and 15H for claiming TDS exemption on income from interest submitted for the current fiscal will be considered valid till 30th Jun 2020. So, you may submit the renewed one for the next fiscal after 30th Jun 2020 also.
The RBI extended the loan moratoriums announced in Mar till May by another three months till August 2020. This relief measure is to help those individuals and businesses who have outstanding loans and are severely impacted financially. While this measure is a relief for such people, there are implications in terms of interest accumulation, and an increase in the number of EMIs. Hence, it should be availed only after discussing it out properly with your bank. Most bankers have indicated that only around 25% of customers have opted for it, as it comes with some baggage, which many want to avoid.
Driving license extension
In case your driving license or permit expired in the lockdown period, you need not worry, as the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway has extended the validity of several documents to 30th Jun 2020. Hence, you have time to get these documents renewed again, and need not face any harassment or fines on account of any of these.
The Passport Seva Kendra is operational again; you may proceed to login to the site and make an appointment for renewal. All safety guidelines as per the current Coronavirus like the social distancing, masks, sanitisers, etc. are in place and people are expected to follow the same. Senior citizens do have some concessions in the passport application process, which they can check out and proceed as per that. You are eligible to walk-in to the Passport Seva Kendra if you are above 65 years of age.
Senior citizens have been designated as a vulnerable category by WHO, and the Government of India has requested that they stay indoors for their safety. To ensure this is followed, the senior citizen concession applicable on Rail travel in the country has been withdrawn in March 2020. In the guidelines drafted for the recently resumed air travel, senior citizens aged 80 years and above are not being given the nod yet.
The minimum balance requirement has been waived for bank account holders, as also the ATM withdrawal charges while using ATMs of other banks. Banking charges for digital transactions have also been reduced to encourage online transactions and reduce the usage of cash. Also, senior citizens aged 70 years and above can avail doorstep banking, as instructed by the RBI to the various banks in India. This is to avoid their stepping out for cash withdrawal or deposit. Most banks like SBI, PNB, Bank of Baroda, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, etc. have started doing this, provided the customers are KYC compliant. You could always check with your bank for availing the same. Few banks like SBI and HDFC have even launched senior citizen specific FDs that provide extra interest income.
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