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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday made several big announcements while announcing measures for Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

Sitharaman said that the government will pay Rs 2,500 crore as employees and employers' contributions to EPF for the next three months till August, and it will benefit around 72.22 lakh employees.

Statutory PF contribution for both employers and employees has been reduced from 12% to 10% for all establishments covered by EPFO for the next 3 months while for CPSEs and State PSUs, employer contribution to remain 12%, said Sitharaman.

“Statutory PF contribution is being reduced from 12% to 10%. However, the government will continue to pay 12% for PSUs,” she said.

As per the new announcement, the central government will pay 24% of the monthly wages into EPF accounts below Rs 15,000 per month- people employed in business units having up to one hundred employees and with 90% or more of its employees having a monthly salary earning within Rs15,000.

Moreover, the Finance Minister announced a reduction of 25% of existing rates of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and Tax Collection at Sources (TCS) from tomorrow till March 31, 2021.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s self-reliance call, she said it does not mean that India will look only inwards and become an 'isolationist’ country rather it’s about a confident India which can rest on its strengths and also contribute to the globe.

"Certainly when he (Prime Minister) says 'Aatmanirbhar' Bharat, it is not to look inwards and make India an isolationist country.

"It certainly talks about a confident India which can rest on its strengths and also be able to contribute to the globe, the way in which the Prime Minister rightly pointed out the production of PPEs (personal protective equipment), and masks and also ventillators has rapidly grown within these 40 days to an extent," she said.

Among other schemes to bring back the country’s back on track amid the COVID-19 lockdown, she announced Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free automatic loan for businesses, including MSMEs.

This will benefit 45 lakh small businesses and the loan will have 4-year tenure and will have a 12-month moratorium, she added.

She also announced Rs 20,000 crore subordinate debt scheme for stressed MSMEs and said that it will make the players in the sector more confident.

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