Covid-19 in India: GST slashed on virus, black fungus medicines
The GST Council on Saturday slashed tax rate on Covid-19 drugs such as Remdesivir and Tocilizumab as well as on medical oxygen and oxygen concentrators but ignored demands for reduction in taxes on vaccines. The Council, acting on the recommendation of a group of ministers from different states, cut to nil GST on Covid-19 drug Tocilizumab and black fungus medicine Amphotericin B, from existing 5 per cent. Besides, hand sanitiser, pulse oximeter, BiPAP machine, testing kit, ambulance and temperature check equipment were among the 18 items on which GST rates were lowered.
A 5 per cent GST levy on vaccines will continue which will allow manufacturers to get benefit of settling taxes paid on inputs.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman explained that the 5 per cent levy will not put any additional burden on common man as the government was procuring all vaccines and giving them to citizens for free.
The reduced tax rates were based on a recommendation of a group of ministers, headed by Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, and would remain effective till September 30, 2021.
“It was felt that the GoM’s recommendations has brought in a lot of substantial change. Many items, that were at 18 per cent and 12 per cent, brought down to 5 per cent. So there was a lot of substance in the recommendation made by GoM. The Council largely agreed to go with GoM’s recommendation...,” Sitharaman said while briefing reporters after the 44th GST Council meeting here.