Aatma Nirbhar Bharat 3.0
- The Finance Minister announced measures to increase employment, and provide stimulus to certain sectors such as infrastructure and real estate. These measures include:
- EPF contribution : The central government will pay the employee provident fund (EPF) contribution for new employees for two years. New employees are defined to include those who (i) joined an EPF Organisation registered establishment for the first time, or (ii) lost employment between March 1 and September 30, 2020, but re-joined the workforce from October 1, 2020. The scheme is open till June 30, 2021, and applies to employees earning less than ` 15,000 per month. For establishments with less than 1,000 employees, EPF contribution of both the employer and the employee will be covered. For others, the government will only cover the employee’s EPF contribution.
- Extension of credit guarantee scheme : The Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme was announced as part of the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan in May 2020. It provides eligible entities additional, collateral-free credit of up to 20% of the outstanding loan value as on February 29, 2020, at capped interest rates. Eligible entities include: (i) MSMEs, those availing individual loans for business purposes, among others, and (ii) those with outstanding credit of up to `25 crore, and annual turnover of up to `100 crore. The period of the loan is four years, one-year moratorium on repayment and three-year repayment period. 100% of the additional credit is guaranteed by the government. The scheme was valid till November 30, 2020. The latest announcement extends the scheme till March 31, 2021, covering entities with outstanding loans up to ` 50 crore (without any restriction based on turnover). Further, the scheme has been expanded to cover entities in 26 stressed sectors (such as real estate, construction, and hospitality) identified by the Expert Committee on Resolution of COVID-19 related Stress. Entities in these sectors with outstanding loan of between ` 50 crore and ` 250 crore are eligible for the scheme. The period of the loan will be five years, one-year moratorium and four-year repayment.
- Additional budgetary allocation : The central government has proposed to increase spending under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana -Urban by ` 18,000 crore for construction of housing in urban areas. This is in addition to ` 8,000 crore allocated for the scheme in the 2020-21 Budget.
- Income tax relief for real estate : Under the Income Tax Act, 1961, a home buyer or a real estate developer (seller) has to pay tax on the difference between the circle rate of the house and the transaction value, if the difference exceeds 10%. This limit has been raised to 20%. The circle rate is the government determined value of a property used for calculating stamp duty.
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