Tax Cutbacks by Centre on Covid Essentials
The GST Council slashed the tax rate on Covid medicines, oxygen concentrators, testing kits, and equipment
Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B, two key medications against Covid-19 and black fungus, have had their GST rates waived, while tax rates on 14 important pandemic relief commodities, such as testing kits and hand sanitizers, have been slashed to 5 per cent from normal rates of 12 percent to 18 per cent.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced these concessionary rates on Saturday, following a meeting of the GST Council to examine indirect taxes paid on Covid-19 supplies. Ambulances, which are now taxed at a rate of 28 percent, would now be subject to a GST charge of 12 percent. Tax on medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrators, ventilators, BiPAP machines and High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC) devices has been cut to 5 per cent from 12 per cent
The rate on Remdesivir and anti-coagulants like Heparin are lowered from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. The Council recommends that the same tariff be used for any additional medicine indicated for Covid-19 therapy by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Department of Pharma.
Personal importation of oxygen concentrators and pulse oximeters will be subject to a 5 per cent GST. In addition, the 18 percent GST on hand sanitizers has been lowered to 5 per cent. Pulse oximeters, hand sanitizers, temperature-checking devices, and ambulances will all be exempt from the 5 per cent levy, as announced by the Finance Minister.