According to authorities, the GST Council, which is chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, would meet on June 12 to decide on a GST rate drop for COVID basics and black fungus treatment. A Group of Ministers (GoM) was formed at the previous meeting of the Council, which includes state ministers, to recommend tax reductions for COVID basics, such as PPE kits, masks, and vaccines, to the GST council.
On June 7, the GoM submitted its report. The GST Council will meet on June 12 to evaluate the GoM report and possible tax rate reductions for black fungus medicine, according to officials.
Some state finance ministers in the GoM are said to have pushed for a rate reduction on COVID necessities. On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna, who is also a member of the GoM, said that the state supports lowering taxes on COVID necessities to help patients, but that the state will accept the GST council’s decision on tax rates.
The GoM on GST concessions on COVID relief items was tasked with determining whether medical-grade oxygen, pulse oximeters, hand sanitizers, oxygen therapy equipment such as concentrators, ventilators, PPE kits, N-95 and surgical masks, and temperature checking equipment require a GST rate cut or exemption. In addition, the panel looked at COVID vaccines, medications, and medicines for COVID treatment, as well as COVID diagnostic kits.
After a dispute between the BJP and opposition-ruled states over whether the tax cuts would reach the common man, the GST Council left levies on COVID-19 vaccinations and medical supplies unchanged on May 28. The import of Amphotericin B, a medicine used to treat black fungus, was exempt from the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The Congress and other opposition-controlled states have demanded a tax cut, but the federal administration believes the move will not result in substantial benefits for the public. Currently, domestically manufactured vaccinations are subject to a 5% GST, while COVID medicines and oxygen concentrators are subject to a 12% GST.
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