GST meeting: Several state finance ministers have pitched for a rate cut on Covid-19 essentials
Currently, 5% GST is levied on domestically manufactured vaccines, while it is 12% for Covid-19 drugs and oxygen concentrators
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will convene the GST Council meeting on Saturday. In this 44th GST meeting, the key discussion will be on GST concessions on Covid-19 relief items like medical grade oxygen, pulse oximeters, hand sanitisers, and ventilators, among others.
Several state finance ministers have pitched for a rate cut on Covid-19 essentials.
Besides, the council will discuss the report of the Group of Ministers, headed by Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Conrad Sangma into vaccines, drugs, and medicines for coronavirus treatment and testing kits for its detection.
UP Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna, who is also a member of the GoM, had on Wednesday said the state is in favour of cutting taxes on Covid essentials to facilitate patients but will accept the decision of the GST Council on tax rates.
Tomorrow's meeting will be attended by Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, finance ministers of states and union territories and senior officers from Union government and states.
In the previous GST meeting, the Council had left taxes on Covid vaccines and medical supplies unchanged after the BJP- and Opposition-ruled states sparred over whether the tax cut benefits will reach the common man.
In the past, FM Sitharaman had said that removing 5% GST on the vaccines will negatively impact the prices as "manufacturers would be denied input tax credit who will, in turn, pass on this to the consumers as a cost".
However, GST was exempted on the import of Amphotericin B, a medicine used for the treatment of black fungus in the last meeting.