An eight-member group of ministers (GoM) has recommended 5 per cent reduction in GST rates on COVID-19 relief material. The GoM, headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, set up to decide GST reduction, has also suggested that the GST Council should determine the tax on relief material and has further referred the matter back to the Council.
"The GST Council should decide the rate on vaccines, it has been recommended by GoM," a senior official told The Economic Times. The GST Council will have to meet again to decide on the same.
The group suggested a GST reduction of 5 per cent on COVID-19 relief items including medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters and testing kits. The GoM also recommended GST exemption for drugs related to treatment of black fungus.
The GST Council had exempted imports of Amphotericin B used for black fungus treatment from tax in the last meeting on May 28. However, it had decided to set up the group to look into exemption for COVID-19 vaccines and other medical products. Several states had sought complete waiver of tax on COVID-19 vaccines, medicines and equipment.
Issues of COVID-related items was one item in the agenda that saw detailed discussions, said FM Sitharaman during the last GST Council meeting. "The Council has decided to exempt the import of relief items even if they are purchased, if these are meant for donating to the government, or on recommendation of any state government to any relief agency. This exemption is extended till August 31, 2021," she said.