Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on September 17 chaired the first in-person GST Council meeting held since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. At the 45th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meet held in Lucknow, several pertinent issues were discussed, including bringing petrol and diesel under the GST regime. The Finance Minister, during her press address on the GST Council meet 2021, said that “quite a few people-friendly decisions” have been taken. Here are the key highlights:
Online food delivery aggregator firms Swiggy and Zomato will now be liable to pay GST and not the restaurant partners. Food delivery apps will now collect and deposit GST with the government.
Petrol and diesel will not be brought under the GST regime yet.
GST rate on biodiesel, which is supplied to oil marketing companies for blending with diesel, has been reduced from 12 percent to five percent.
GST rates on Retro Fitment Kits for vehicles, used by persons with special disabilities, have also been reduced to five percent.
GST rate on fortified rice kernels for schemes like integrated child development schemes has been recommended to be reduced from 18 percent to five percent.
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Transport of export goods by vessels and air has been exempt from GST till September 30. This exemption was given as exporters were facing difficulties in getting a refund of ITC (Input Tax Credit) due to technical glitches on the GST portal.
States charge national permit fees for granting permits to goods carriages. This fee has been exempted from the GST regime.
Cess to pay back compensation loans taken by Centre and then transferred to states last fiscal and this fiscal will continue till March 2026. Beyond June 2022, the cess will be collected only to repay the loans taken by the states.
The inverted duty structure on footwear and textiles will be corrected from January 1, 2022.
On locomotives and certain railway parts, the GST rate has been increased to 18 percent from 12 percent to correct the inverted duty structure.
GST of 12 percent will be applicable on specific renewable devices.
Concessional GST rates on COVID-19 related drugs, which were applicable till September 30, have been extended till December 31. The extension on concessional rates has been given only for medicines like Remdesivir and not for medical equipment. The following rates will be applicable: Amphotericin B (nil rate), Tocilizumab (nil rate), Remdesivir (five percent), anticoagulants like Heparin (five percent).
GST rates on seven other medicines, which were recommended by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, have also been recommended for reduction from 12 percent to five percent. This has been extended till Dec 31, 2021.
GST rates on cancer-related drugs such as Keytruda, along with similar other medicines used to treat cancer, are also likely to come down from 12 percent to five percent.
GST exemption has additionally been given on expensive imported drugs such as Zolgensma and Viltesto. These two important drugs cost around Rs 16 crores.
Drugs used for treating muscular atrophy, on the recommendation of the Health Ministry and Department of Pharmaceuticals, are also exempted for IGST on import for personal use.