Recently, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. With self-reliance as the key focus, the stimulus package put forth by the government is a mix of fiscal support, monetary support, economic reforms, and ease of doing business.

This ₹20 Lakh Crore package (which equals 10% of India’s GDP) was put together in an effort to boost the economy amidst the lockdown. And while we saw the internet splashed with people demanding their share of this amount, ₹15,384 (₹20 lakh crore for 130 crore Indians), there is no such direct benefit for anybody.

Well, if every Indian were to receive this share, how would we call ourselves aatma nirbhar?

This whole package is an indirect one, mainly giving credit facilities to various types of businesses. These include:

  • Collateral-free loans to MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises)
  • Working capital loans to street vendors
  • Credit cards to farmers

All these facilities come with their own set of terms and conditions, of course. According to a News18 report, the actual cash outflow would be just around ₹3 lakh crores. So, while there are no direct benefits for us, I want to share a few of the measures that’ll help you be self-reliant in your own way.

Reduction in Employer’s Provident Fund Contribution

The EPF rates have been reduced from 12% to 10%. This means that there will be a 10% deduction from salary towards PF which will result in an increase in your take-home pay. It also results in reduced outflow for your employer. This measure applies only for next three months (June to August).

Reduction in TDS rates

There has been a 25% reduction in TDS rates until 31st March 2021, for non-salaried payments. This means a reduction in TDS on interest received from FD’s or income received by professionals or freelancers. However, this does not translate to any reduction in the final income tax payable. Those rates remain the same, based on your total income for the year. Again, this measure aims to increase your current monetary inflow.

Extension of Income Tax due date

The due date for filing income tax returns for the Financial Year 2019-20, which is normally 31st July, is now extended to 30th November. This doesn’t imply that you forget about it now and leave it for the end. I’d suggest going over your taxes as soon as your employer sends you the Form 16.

EMI Moratorium

In line with RBI guidelines, banks are continuing to offer the EMI moratorium as a relief to customers. The earlier extension was granted until 31st May, 2020. This has now been further extended for another three months. This means that if your loan installment or credit card payment is due, you may defer this payment for the months of June, July and August as well. Although I’d only recommend doing this if you’re facing a severe cash crunch.

Extension of the CLSS scheme

What is this scheme?

The government has a vision of ‘Housing for all by 2022’. For this, they had introduced a scheme called CLSS (Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme) under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yogna. Through this scheme, if your annual income is between 6 to 18 lakhs, and if you’re taking a loan to buy your first house, you get a subsidy on the home loan ‘interest component’. Basically, the interest rate is reduced. This scheme was earlier valid only till 31st March 2020, but is now extended to 31st March 2021.

The image below gives a detailed break-up of the entire package:

While all these seem to be indirect benefits, let’s not overlook the vision to be an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, not only as a nation but also as individuals. Let’s support the idea of being ‘vocal for local’. Support all those small businesses around you. Take the conscious effort to shift your buys from the likes of Big Basket to the local vegetable vendors in your neighbourhood. Or better yet, grow your own vegetable garden!

Stay safe, stay aatma nirbhar. 🙂

Rushina Thacker

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