Rules changing from January 1

1st January onwards many rules from cheque payments, to FASTag for Four-wheelers and even LPG Cylinder prices are changing.  Since these rules will affect your daily life, we compiled a list of the most important ones. Here are the 7 rules changing from January 1, 2021 onwards:

1. Cheque Payments

The “Positive Pay System” for cheques introduced by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) in September 2020, comes into effect from 1st January, 2021. The new system has been employed to increase the safety of cheque-based transactions. Along with that it will also help in preventing banking frauds in India. This new system requires that there be re-confirmation of the key details for the payments above Rs 50,000.

Currently, it is upto the customers to avail the positive pay system facility meaning it is non-mandatory. However, banks are thinking about making it compulsory for cheques with amounts greater than Rs. 5 lakhs.

2. Compulsory FASTag for Four-wheelers 

Another of of the main rules changing from January 1, 2021, is that the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has made FASTag mandatory for all four-wheel vehicles, through a notification issued on November 6, 2020. The Central Motor Vehicles rules, 1989 were also amended for this. 

In case you missed out on this, a FASTag is a sticker attached to the windshield featuring a barcode that makes use of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to transfer data. This barcode is linked to the vehicle registration details and a bank account through which the toll charges are automatically deducted on national highways. This entirely cashless transaction has been made possible by the simple use of a FASTag scanner.

Two categories of vehicles will be compulsorily using FASTags. This includes category ‘M’ for four-wheelers  (sold before December 1, 2017) carrying passengers, and category ‘N’ for four-wheelers carrying goods, and in some cases may be also used to ferry passengers (also sold before December 1, 2017). This move has been made so as to enhance digital payments and ease bottlenecks at highway toll counters. 

3. Contactless Payments and E-mandate for Recurring Transactions

From January 1, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced a new rule to increase the amount limit from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000 for contactless debit and credit card transactions and e-mandates for recurring transactions through cards and UPI. The step by RBI will enhance digital transactions. In addition to that, this will ensure a safe and secure payment, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has said that how useful this will prove will depend on the discretion of customers.

This increase will help users in making big sized recurring payments like monthly investments, utility bills, consumer durable EMIs, two-wheeler EMIs etc. seamlessly. This increase in limits will be at the discretion of the user. 

4. New GST Rules for Small Businesses

Businesses with a turnover of up to Rs. 5 crores will need to file only four GST sales that means, they will have to file returns once in every financial quarter, instead of filing it every month or twelve times annually. This means filing only 4 GST sales returns, or GSTR-3B, instead of 12 (which is the current number) from January 1st onwards. 

This new rule would impact about 94 lakh taxpayers which is approximately 92% of the entire GST tax base. After this, small taxpayers would be filing only eight returns annually which includes four GSTR-3B and four GSTR-1 returns only.

5. Monthly Revision in LPG Prices

The new rule from January 1 will allow oil marketing companies to offer monthly revisions in the prices of LPG cylinders. This price will be decided on the first day of every month depending on the crude prices in the international market, US dollar, and the Rupee exchange rate. Therefore, the LPG prices will keep changing every month.

6. Standard Insurance Policy 

Another one of the rules changing from January 1 onwards, buying a term insurance policy will become much more simple as compared to before. During October 2020, life insurance companies were asked to compulsorily launch a standard term life insurance policy called “Saral Jeevan Bima” from January 1st, 2021 by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI).  

“Saral Jeevan Bima” will be a standard term life insurance policy with simple features and standard terms and conditions. This has been done to decomplicate the insurance zone and will be especially useful for first time buyers who have 0 experience in purchasing term insurance plans. Anyone between the age of 18 and 65 can purchase this plan. The minimum cover is kept at Rs. 5 lakh while the maximum cover is kept at Rs. 25 lakh. 

7. Landline Users Calling Mobile Phone Users

Landline users will have to prefix ‘0’ for making calls to mobile phones in the country from January 15. Onwards. The telecom department has asked telecom companies to work on the required infrastructure by January 15. So, this will help in implementing the new system effectively. 

As per the communications ministry, “There will be no change in the dialing plan from fixed-to-fixed, mobile-to-fixed and mobile-to-mobile calls”. This means that only calls from landlines to mobiles have been affected and not vice-versa. The move aims to create the much needed numbering space for telecom services.


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