Relief Measures on EPF announced by FM vide Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Reforms

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Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi yesterday announced a Special economic and comprehensive package of Rs 20 lakh crores – equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP. He gave a clarion call for आत्मनिर्भर भारत अभियान or Self-Reliant India Movement. He also outlined five pillars of Aatmanirbhar Bharat – Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography and Demand.

During the press conference here today, Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman said in her opening remarks that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had laid out a comprehensive vision in his address to the Nation yesterday. She further said that after spending considerable time, the Prime Minister has himself ensured that inputs obtained from widespread consultation form a part of an economic package in fight against COVID-19.

“Essentially, the goal is to build a self-reliant India that is why the Economic Package is called Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan. Citing the pillars on which we seek to build Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, Smt. Sitharaman said our focus would be on land, labour, liquidity and law.

The Finance Minister further said that the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been listening and is a responsive Government, hence it is fitting to recall some reforms which have been undertaken since 2014.

“Soon after Budget 2020 came COVID-19 and within hours of the announcement of Lockdown 1.0, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) was announced,” Smt. Sitharaman said. She further said that we are going to build on this package.

“Beginning today, for the next few days, I shall be coming here with the entire team of the Ministry of Finance to detail the Prime Minister’s vision for Aatma Nirbhar Bharat laid out by the Prime Minister yesterday,” Smt Sitharaman said.

Smt. Nirmala  Sitharaman today announced measures focused on Getting back to work i.e., enabling employees and employers, businesses, especially Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, to get back to production and workers back to gainful employment. Efforts to strengthen Non-Banking Finance Institutions (NBFCs), Housing Finance Companies (HFCs), Micro Finance Sector and Power Sector were also unfolded. Other than this, the tax relief to business, relief from contractual commitments to contractors in public procurement, and compliance relief to the real estate sector was also covered.

Over the last five years, the Government has actively taken various measures for the industry and MSME. For the Real Estate sector, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act [RERA] was enacted in 2016 to bring in more transparency into the industry. A special fund for affordable and middle-income housing was set up last year to help with the stress in this segment. To help MSMEs with the issue of delayed payment by any Government department or PSUs, Samadhaan Portal was launched in 2017. A Fund of Funds for startups was set up under SIDBI to boost entrepreneurship in the country and various other credit guarantee schemes to help the flow of credit to the MSMEs.

Following measures were announced today:-

  1. Employees Provident Fund Support for business and organized workers

The scheme introduced as part of PMGKP under which the Government of India contributes 12% of salary each on behalf of both employer and employee to EPF will be extended by another 3 months for salary months of June, July, and August 2020. Total benefits accrued are about Rs 2500 crores to 72.22 lakh employees.

  1. EPF Contribution to be reduced for Employers and Employees for 3 months

Statutory PF contribution of both employer and employee reduced to 10% each from the existing 12% each for all establishments covered by EPFO for the next 3 months. This will provide liquidity of about Rs.2250 Crore per month.

The Press Release can be accessed at: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1623601

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