Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at GST Council meeting (Image: Twitter/@FinMinIndia)
The GST Council on June 12 reduced tax rates on most COVID-releated supplies and offered tax exemptions on medicines for treating the black fungus infection.
At the press briefing following the meeting, Union Finance Minster Nirmala Sithraman tax cuts on electric cremation furnaces, ambulances and temperature checking devices.
Sitharaman said no GST would be levied on Amphotericin B, the antifungal drug used for black fungus treatment. She also said that GST rates on medicines like Amphotericin B will be nil from now. Both were charged 5 percent GST earlier.
FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces GST cut on electric cremation furnaces, ambulances and temperature checking devices
Among other measures, the council set the GST rates on anti-coagulants like Heparin, Remdisvir and other drugs recommended by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) for COVID treatment at 5 percent. The previous GST rates applicable on them were 12 percent.
"Five percent GST on vaccines will stay. The Centre will buy the 75 percent vaccine as announced and will pay its GST too. But 70 percent of income from GST will be shared with states," Sitharaman said, as she justified the decision to maintain GST on vaccines.
Apart from this, the Finance Minister informed that the GST on ventilators, medical-grade oxygen, COVID-19 testing kits, oxygen concentrators, high flow nasal canula (HFNC) device, pulse oximeters and BiPAP machine have been brought down to 5 percent from 12 percent at present.
Also, the GST rates were slashed for hand sanitisers, temperature check equipment, gas/electric/other furnaces for crematorium, including their installation, etc. They will now be charged a GST of 5 percent, which was 18 percent earlier. Meanwhile, the GST on ambulances were decreased from present 28 percent to 12 percent. These rate reductions and exemptions will remain in force up to September 30, 2021.
The decisions taken during the meeting of the GST Council were based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers (GoM). It was formed after the last GST Council meeting on May 28 to deliberate on possible reductions in COVID-related items.
The 44th GST Council meeting was attended by Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, besides finance ministers of states and Union territories and senior officers from Union government and states.