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Policy Advocacy

[Policy Update] Applicability of Foreign Trade Policy 2015 -20 extended till 31st March, 2021

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The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) vide Notification No. 57/2015-2020 (dated 31st March 2020) has extended the applicability of Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 (which was set to expire on 31st March, 2020) upto 31st March, 2021. Important highlights of Notification No. 57 are mentioned below: Validity of Import Authorisations under Duty Free Import Authorisation (DFIA) and Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Schemes extended by 6 Months from the Date of Expiry The DGFT has extended the validity by six months of DFIAs (including transferrable DFIAs) and imports under the EPCG schemes. This applies to import authorisations where the validity period for imports will expire between 1st Feb and 31st July 2020. Government to decide on continuation of SEIS on services rendered after...

NASSCOM Representations on Relief for IT MSMEs and Start-ups

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Against the backdrop of the Covid19 Pandemic, IT Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Start-ups have been facing a multitude of challenges in ensuring business continuity. Working closely with respective sector councils, NASSCOM submitted its representations on relief measures for IT MSMEs and Start-ups, for the consideration of the Government of India on March 28, 2020. In its representations, NASSCOM focused upon the need for ensuring business continuity for IT MSMEs and Start-ups through measures that ensure adequate cash flows, access to working capital, as well as measures that enable enterprises to scale down on operational costs and retain employment – through the duration of the crisis. In this regard, specific submissions were made regarding: Cash Flow and Access to Cap...

NASSCOM’s submission to MeitY on SOFTEX

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Context NASSCOM attended a meeting with the Joint Secretary, MeitY to review the applicability of SOFTEX Form for Software products to strengthen ease of doing business for software product industry under National Policy on Software Products (NPSP) 2019. During the meeting, which was held in January, a recommendation to do away with the SOFTEX Form for Software Products was made. Accordingly, NASSCOM had organized an industry consultation on this issue. We also organised an industry meeting (via video conferencing) along with STPI on 12 March 2020. The following points were discussed during the meeting- Whether the industry needs to do away with the Softex form? What is the difference between compliances pertaining to Softex form for software products and services? Is there a need for elim...

NASSCOM’s Representation to RBI on extending the implementation date of Guidelines on Regulation of Payment Aggregators and Payment Gateways

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Context On 17 March 2020, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released Guidelines on Regulation of Payment Aggregators and Payment Gateways , which said that Payment Aggregators (PAs) and Payment Gateways (PGs) are intermediaries playing an important function in facilitating payments in the online space. Accordingly, PAs and PGs have been defined as follows- PAs are entities that facilitate e-commerce sites and merchants to accept various payment instruments from the customers for completion of their payment obligations without the need for merchants to create a separate payment integration system of their own. PAs facilitate merchants to connect with acquirers. In the process, they receive payments from customers, pool and transfer them on to the merchants after a time period. PGs are entitie...

Extension of deadline to submit comments on NODE Consultation Whitepaper

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Context The Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) released a White Paper on National Open Digital Ecosystems (NODE) (link) in February. The whitepaper highlights key elements of NODE and describes the paradigm shift from earlier approaches to digital governance or ‘GovTech’. It establishes design principles that can help realise the full potential of open digital ecosystems to create transformative impact across sectors. The final chapter of the whitepaper lists a set of key questions on which public consultation is sought- the questions relate to governance, financing and risk management of NODES. Open digital ecosystems refer to open and secure digital delivery platforms. MeitY, alongwith other departments of GoI, is working on building an enabling ecosystem to leverage digital platfo...

Ordinance promulgated to give effect to relief measures announced by Finance Minister

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Ministry of Finance recently introduced an Ordinance on March 31, 2020 to bring into effect compliance relief measures for taxpayers in the wake of COVID-9 that were announced by the Finance Minister on March 24, 2020. Salient features of the Ordinance are as follows: Direct Taxes & Benami: S.No. Particulars Extension/ Relief 1. Last date of filing original and revised income-tax returns for FY 2018-19 June 30, 2020 2. Aadhaar-PAN linking date June 30, 2020 3. Making investment/payment for claiming deduction under Chapter-VIA-B of Income Tax Act (IT Act) June 30, 2020 4. Making investment/construction/purchase for claiming roll over benefit/deduction in respect of capital gains u/s 54 to 54GB June 30, 2020 5. Commencement of operation by SEZ units for claiming deduction u/s 10AA June 3...

GST Update | Refund clarifications

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GST Policy Wing, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) recently issued Circular No.135/05/2020 – GST dated March 31, 2020 clarifying various refund related issues. Summary of the Circular is given below: Bunching of refund claims across Financial Years – Restriction on clubbing of tax period across different financial year has been removed. Now, taxpayers can claim refund by clubbing different months across successive Financial Years. Refund of accumulated input tax credit (ITC) on account of reduction in GST Rate – Refund of accumulated ITC under inverted duty structure due to reduction in rate of tax would not be applicable in cases where the input and the output supplies are the same. Change in manner of refund of tax paid on supplies other than zero rated supplies &#...

COVID-19 Update: Relaxation in compliance for SEZs

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In view of the disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry has decided to provide certain relaxations in compliances to be met by units / developers / co‐developers of Special Economic Zones(SEZs). Such compliances to which the relaxations will apply, include: Requirement to file Quarterly Progress Report (QPR) attested by Independent Chartered Engineers by Developers/ Co‐developers. SOFTEX form to be filed by IT/ITES units – Filing of Annual Performance Reports (APR) by SEZ units Extension of Letter of Approvals (LoA) which may expire, in the cases of: – Developers/co‐developers who are in the process of developing and operationalising the SEZ; – Units which are likely to complete their 5 year block for NFE assessmen...

DGEP issues clarification on movement of goods out of STPI

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Dear all,  With a view to enable health, safety and business continuity, Directorate General of Export Promotion (DGEP) has recently clarified that provisions relating to temporary removal laptops, computers, etc. from units in Software Technology Park of India (STPI) are provided under Circular no. 17/2003- Cus dated 24.03.2003. As per the said notification, there is no requirement of approval from Customs authorities for temporary removal laptops, computers, etc. from units in STPI. Instead, it requires endorsement of certificate issued by STPI unit to its employees detailing the description of goods being taken out temporarily and its acknowledgement to AC/DC of Customs. Such endorsement and acknowledgement of the same can be made electronically over electronic mail without the need to ...

COVID-19: NASSCOM representation to the PF Authorities seeking relaxation from PF contribution time limit

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In the wake of Covid-19 situation and Government announcing lock downs, NASSCOM recently made a representation to the Employee Provident Fund Organization (EPFO), highlighting the need to relax the current statutory time limit for making PF contribution by a month. Given the current situation, many organizations are facing challenges in meeting statutory deadlines PF, ESIC, GST etc., due to several operational and logistical issues, including small and mid-size companies, and start-ups. The Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) vide notification (No. P-11/14/Misc./1/2019-Rev) dated 16.03.2020, also previously relaxed the time limit for making the statutory contribution towards ESIC for the month of February 2020 and March 2020, by a month. In our representation, we have suggested EPF...