‘Fundamental rethink’ needed about health: Finance Commission

India’s economic recovery “can only be excepted to be gradual” after the government eases a lockdown to contain the pandemic and projections for growth have to “relooked entirely”, said the Fifteenth Finance Commission on Friday.

The Commission’s recommendations for the health sector, made in its report for 2020-21, will require a “fundamental rethink” in light of the pandemic, said chairman N K Singh at a media briefing after two days of discussions by the commission’s advisory council. The Commission will wait for gross domestic product (GDP) data in the January-March and April-June quarters before finalising its reports to the government for 2021-22 to 2025-26

States have asked their fiscal deficits relaxed from 3 per cent to 5 per cent, but they will have to come up with new fiscal responsibility and budget management (FRBM) laws—-a time-consuming process, he said. Singh suggested that the states should bring their FRBM laws in-line with that of the centre after discussing with Finance Ministry, and go for a 0.5 per cent relaxation in their fiscal targets.

“I won’t dispute that state finances are under stress, because their own revenues have shrunk. The centre’s revenues have

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HCL Technologies, Tamil Nadu govt join hands to improve Covid-19 response

The has partnered with to set up a disaster management – to strengthen the State’s disaster management efforts in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

HCL is also helping improve and expand the state’s disaster management helpline (1070) through technological upgrades, manpower assistance and effective reporting mechanisms, the company said in a statement on Friday.

The Disaster Management of the Government of Tamil Nadu (in Ezhilagam Building, Chepauk, Chennai) is responsible for the overall management of disasters across the state. The Disaster Management-Centre, housed at the premises will help capture data trends from across all districts of Tamil Nadu in real time and display them live to inform the Government’s future decisions on the degree of response needed for each district and also for graded relaxation of the current lockdown to resume economic activities.

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The operates a call centre (helpline 1070) which is accessible to people across the state and delivers the first level of response in any emergency. Given the increased call

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Businesses can offset coronavirus-driven losses in order to cut tax bill

Businesses suffering lower revenues due to the coronavirus crisis may be able to offset their expected losses for this year against last year’s taxable profits in order to help reduce their tax bill.

That is good news for many struggling UK SMEs in the current climate, from accountants and business advisors, Moore.

Income for many companies has been severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak and it is therefore essential that businesses find ways to improve cashflow in the coming months, if they are to survive.

Moore adds, many SME companies will be needing to make corporation tax payments in the forthcoming months, that are based on previous year’s taxable profits. However, if the business is expecting to make a significant loss in the current year, one option would be to consider offsetting these losses as soon as possible in order to reduce tax liabilities and to help with cashflow.

This is one option that a business may wish to look at, as an alternative to entering into an agreement with HMRC to delay their tax payments, known as a Time to Pay agreement. There have been substantial logistical issues in arranging Time to Pay agreements as HMRC has been swamped

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