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GST Council to meet on September 17; rate review, tax concession to 11 COVID drugs on cards

Also, taxing petrol and diesel under the single national GST tax and a proposal to treat food delivery apps such as Zomato and Swiggy as restaurants and levy a 5 percent GST tax on supplies made by them would be taken up by the Council at its meeting in Lucknow on September 17.

September 16, 2021 / 02:00 PM IST
Representational Image

Representational Image

The GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will meet on Friday, which among other things may review tax rate of over four-dozen items and extend till December 31, tax concessions on 11 COVID drugs.

Also, taxing petrol and diesel under the single national GST tax and a proposal to treat food delivery apps such as Zomato and Swiggy as restaurants and levy a 5 percent GST tax on supplies made by them would be taken up by the Council at its meeting in Lucknow on September 17.

”Finance Minister Smt @nsitharaman will chair the 45th GST Council meeting at 11 AM in Lucknow tomorrow. The meeting will be attended by MOS Shri @mppchaudhary besides Finance Ministers of States & UTs and Senior officers from Union Government & States,” the Finance Ministry tweeted.

The Council, comprising central and state finance ministers, will deliberate on the proposal of extending the existing concessional tax rate structure on Amphotericin B, Tocilizumab, Remdesivir and anti-coagulants like Heparin, till December 31, 2021, from the present September 30.

Tax rate on Amphotericin B, Tocilizumab was cut to ’Nil’, while Remdesivir and Heparin was reduced to 5 percent in June 2021. The Council on Friday may also discuss the proposal of reducing GST from 12 percent to 5 percent to seven more drugs till December 31, 2021.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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These are Itolizumab, Posaconazole, Infliximab, Bamlanivimab & Etesevimab, Casirivimab & Imdevimab, 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose and Favipiravir.

The Council on Friday may also discuss the proposal of reducing GST from 12 percent to 5 percent to seven more drugs till December 31, 2021.

To curb tax evasion, the proposal to make the food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato liable to pay the Goods and Services Tax on restaurant services supplied through them would also be considered by the Council.

Once approved by the GST Council, food delivery apps will have to collect and deposit GST with the government, in place of restaurants, for deliveries made by them.

There would be no extra tax burden on the end consumer. As per estimates, tax loss to exchequer due to alleged under-reporting by food delivery aggregators is Rs 2,000 over the past two years.

In light of the Kerala High Court order, the Council will also discuss taxing petrol and diesel under the GST, a move that may require huge compromises by both central and state governments on the revenues they collect from taxing these products.

In June, the Kerala High Court, based on a writ petition, had asked the GST Council to decide on bringing petrol and diesel within the GST ambit. The Council will also discuss the interim report of a state-ministerial panel on capacity based taxation on pan masala and composition scheme for brick kilns and stone crushers.

The Panel has recommended a Special Composition Scheme in the Brick Kiln sector with effect from April 1, 2022, prescribing a GST rate of 6 percent, without ITC, similar to the rate in the services sector.

It has also suggested hiking the GST rate on supply of bricks from 5 percent to 12 percent (with ITC), with effect from April 1. It has also suggested hiking the GST rate on supply of bricks from 5 percent to 12 percent (with ITC), with effect from April 1.

The council will review and also clarify regarding GST rates 32 goods and 29 services. The items under review are Zolgensma and Viltepso medicines for personal use, solar PV modules, copper concentrate, carbonated beverage with fruit juice, coconut oil, scented sweet supari, oncology medicine, and diesel-electric locomotives.
PTI
first published: Sep 16, 2021 02:04 pm

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