MCA introduces the “Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020” and revised the “LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020” as a relief measure from COVID-19 for companies and LLPs 

#GS2 #Governance #GS3 #Economy 

In order to provide relief to law abiding companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) from the COVID 19 impact, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), has introduced the “Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020” and revised the “LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020”. 

  • Both schemes provide a one-time waiver of additional filing fees for delayed filings by the companies or LLPs with the Registrar of Companies (ROCs) during the period starting from 1st April, 2020 and ending on 30th September, 2020. 

About Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020 

To facilitate Indian companies to make a fresh start, MCA has taken certain alleviative measures for the benefit of all companies by exercising its power under section 460 & 403 of the Companies Act, 2013 and introduces the scheme “(CFSS-2020)” with effect from 1st April 2020 to 30th September 2020. 

  • It should be noted that Companies Act 2013 mandates all companies to make statutory compliance by filing Annual Return and Financial Statements along with various other documents on MCA21 electronic registry within prescribed time limit. Under this scheme stakeholders are granted with one time opportunity to complete their pending compliances including annual filings without any additional fees on account of any delay. It also grants immunity for any prosecution or proceeding against the company for imposing any penalty on account of delay in filing documents. 
  • The Scheme also provides an opportunity to the inactive company to convert into a dormant company under section 455 of companies act, 2013 by filing form MSC-1 with nominal fees. 

About LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020 

On March 3, 2020, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) introduced a scheme namely “LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020” for limited liability partnership (LLPs) by allowing a one-time condonation of delay in filing statutorily required documents with the Registrar of Office (ROC). Now to further reduce their compliance burden certain modifications have been made in that. The modifications are: 

  • The scheme shall come into force from April 1, 2020 and remain till 30th September 2020. 
  • Applicability: Any defaulting LLP is permitted to file belated documents which were due for filing till August 31, 2020. 
  • The defaulting LLP which have filed belated documents till September 30, 2020 and made good the default shall not be subjected to prosecution by Registrar. 

Source : PIB 

Ministry of Tourism launches  ‘Stranded in India’ portal  to help foreign tourists stuck in various parts of India 

#GS2 #Governance 

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, with an aim to extend support to the foreign tourists who are stranded in India, has come up with a portal to disseminate information regarding the services that can be availed by foreign tourists who are stuck far away from their home land.  

  • The portal is titled ‘Stranded in India’ and aims to act as a support network for foreign tourists stuck in various parts of the country. 
  • The portal consists of the following information that will be useful for the tourists in their time of need: 
  • Comprehensive information around COVID-19 helpline numbers or call-centres that the foreign tourists can reach out to for help. 
  • A variety of information around Ministry of External Affairs control centers along with their contact information. 
  • Information around state-based/regional tourism support infrastructure. 
  • Help Support section to extend help to the ones in need of further information and connect foreign tourists to concerned authorities. 

Source : PIB 

ICICI Bank launches banking services on WhatsApp 

ICICI Bank has launched WhatsApp banking to assist its customers in meeting the banking needs from homes during the lockdown. 

  • Any existing ICICI Bank Savings Account customer on WhatsApp can access the new service. 
  • The customer who has only an ICICI credit card can use the service to block/ unblock the card. 
  • The Non-ICICI Bank customers can also use this service to know the nearby location of the Bank’s branches / ATMs. 

Services provided 

  • Banking services - Customers can check their Account balance, Last 3 transactions, Credit Card Limit, Block /Unblock the card, get details of  the pre-approved loan offers & also enquire about the travel, dining, shopping, discounts and more offers around the customers. 
  • Other services - Customers can Track the delivery status of the Debit Card, Credit Card, Cheque Book and Passbook, Check nearby ICICI Bank ATMs & branches. 

Source : Indian Express 

ADB grants $60 million to Aavas financiers to improve women’s access to housing in India 

Asian Development Bank (ADB), a regional development bank, has signed a loan agreement worth of $60 million with affordable housing loan provider Aavas Financiers Ltd to provide housing finance to women in low-income communities either as primary borrowers or co-borrowers. 

  • The grant, provided under the ADB’s supporting access to housing finance for women and in lagging states project, will help increase higher rates of property ownership for women in lower-income groups. 
  • At present, India saw the acute housing shortage of 18.7 million units in urban region & 43.7 million units in rural region, that mostly affecting low-income groups, who are facing major problems in receiving mortgages including a lack of documents to prove their incomes. 
  • Earlier the ADB announced to invest $100 million in Indian infrastructure sector through National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). 

About ADB: 

  • It is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, headquartered — Manila, Philippines. 
  • ADB is an official United Nations Observer. 
  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries. 

Voting rights: 

It is modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.  

Roles and functions: 

  • ADB defines itself as a social development organization that is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. 
  • This is carried out through investments – in the form of loans, grants and information sharing – in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems, helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources, as well as other areas. 

Source : Indian Express 

Stepping up the fight 

#GS2 #Health #Governance 

With the identification of 10 COVID-19 “hotspots” in different parts of the country, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has scaled up its fight against the virus.  

  • Two of these places, where the MoHFW will focus on an intensive containment strategy, are in Delhi — Dilshad Garden and Nizamuddin.  
  • Noida and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, Kasaragod and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Bhilwara in Rajasthan will also come under the ambit of this strategy.  
  • The government’s plan, reportedly, is to implement “rigorous surveillance measures” in these areas. 
  • The salience of this move cannot be overstated, especially because India’s low rate of testing has led to fears of community transmission.  
  • The country’s healthcare authorities must now ensure that due procedures and protocols are followed in identifying coronavirus cases in the hotspots. 
  • The government, so far, has not announced any new protocol for testing in the 10 hotspots.  
  • It is unclear, therefore, just how it plans to bring an appreciable number of people in these areas under the ambit of its testing centres.  
  • Global experience, most notably of South Korea, has demonstrated the importance of transparent methods in the fight against COVID-19.  
  • As India intensifies its fight, healthcare officials must not lose sight of the imperative of building trust in the country’s healthcare system. They must take the people in the hotspots into confidence about their methods and protocols. 

Source : Indian Express 

Govt hikes WMA limit with RBI by 60%; frontloads borrowing 

#GS3 #Economy 

The government Tuesday increased the ceiling on its temporary loan facility with the Reserve Bank of India — known as Ways and Means Advance (WMA) — by 60 per cent to tide over the cash flow mismatch in FY21 expected from higher spending to combat the spread of COVID-19.  

  • Announcing the government’s borrowing plan for April-September period, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary said the “WMA limit is proposed to be revised to Rs 1.20 lakh crore and would be reviewed on a need basis (from Rs 75,000 crore last year).” 
  • The WMA facility enables the government to take a temporary short term loan from the central bank, mainly to address the mismatch between its inflow of revenues and outflow of expenditure.  
  • A higher limit provides the government flexibility to raise funds from RBI without borrowing them from the market. 
  • Out of gross borrowings of Rs 7.8 lakh crore in FY21, the Centre has proposed to borrow Rs 4.88 lakh crore, or 62.56 per cent, in the first half of the fiscal, as against 62.25 per cent done in the previous fiscal.  
  • The Budget 2020-21 has pegged the Centre’s net market borrowing — including government securities, treasury bills and post office life insurance fund — at Rs 5.36 lakh crore. 

Ways and means advances (WMA) 

  • The Reserve Bank of India gives temporary loan facilities to the centre and state governments as a banker to government.  This temporary loan facility is called Ways and Means Advances (WMA). 
  • It is a mechanism to provide to States to help them tide over temporary mismatches in the cash flow of their receipts and payments. 
  • It was introduced on April 1, 1997, after putting an end to the four-decade old system of adhoc (temporary) Treasury Bills to finance the Central Government deficit. 
  • This facility can be availed by the government if it needs immediate cash from the RBI. The WMA is to be vacated after 90 days. 
  • Interest rate for WMA is currently charged at the repo rate. The limits for WMA are mutually decided by the RBI and the Government of India. 

Source : Indian Express

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