Rajya Sabha returns Bills giving compliance relief

Rajya Sabha returns Bills giving compliance relief

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Rajya Sabha on Tuesday returned two key Bills—one giving extra time for various statutory compliances in view of the coronavirus pandemic and the other, decriminalising technical breaches of the company law into civil offences.


The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and amendment of certain provisions) Bill, 2020 replaces an Ordinance issued on 31 March this year for deferring due dates for compliance for both direct and indirect taxes and as well as for two dispute resolution schemes Vivad se Vishwas and Sabka Vishwas, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in the upper house explaining the goals of the Bill.

Extra time for meeting compliance requirements which fell in the lockdown period will make sure people are not put to any hardship, the minister said.


In addition to the provisions in the Ordinance, the Bill also includes clauses to facilitate scaling up of the income tax-faceless assessment scheme announced by the Prime Minister in August.

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Rajya Sabha also returned the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2020 which decriminalises company law offences and allows direct foreign listing of companies. Out of the 61 amendments proposed in the Bill, 48 are aimed at making procedural and technical lapses of company law into civil offences while the remaining are aimed at making life easier for producer organisations.

Producer organisations are a class of entities that have relevance in the agrarian economy and engage in activities like procurement, production and harvesting.


Sitharaman explained that she had earlier announced the plan of setting up 10,000 farmer producer organizations which will have a rural impact. The provisions in the Bill makes life easier for them.

The minister said that 35 specified offences of serious nature under Companies Act will continue as non-compoundable offences. “Thirty-five of them from 2013 (when current Companies Act was enacted) remain 35 even today because we are not giving an opportunity for fraud, deceit or injuring public interest to go away with smaller punishments,” the minister said.

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Direct listing of securities by Indian companies in select foreign markets is likely to help start-ups to tap overseas markets for raising capital if they perceive that there may not be enough risk appetite among domestic investors. Improving the ease of doing business is a key objective the Bill. Both the Bills were passed by Lok Sabha earlier.


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