The Union Finance Ministry has formed an eight-member ministerial committee under the chairmanship of Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to assess the necessity of waiving off the goods and services tax (GST) or slashing rates on Covid-19 essential items such as PPE kits, oxygen-related equipment, drugs, hand sanitizers, masks, vaccines etc.
Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitinbhai Patel, Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar along with the finance ministers of Uttar Pradesh (Suresh Kumar Khanna), Odisha (Niranjan Pujari), Telangana (T Harish Rao) and Kerala (K N Balagopal) are the other members of this panel.
They will jointly submit a report on this issue on 8th June. “As a follow up of the decision of the GST Council at its 43rd meeting, a Group of Ministers (GoM) has been constituted to examine the issue of GST concession/exemption to COVID relief material,” the Union Finance Ministry was quoted in a report by the Indian Express.
As of now, 5 per cent and 12 per cent GST are applied on indigenously produced vaccines and oxygen concentrators respectively.
States governed by Congress and other opposition parties have been actively calling for a cutback in taxes though the central government maintains that the move would not yield any tangible benefits for the common people. The entire matter will now be looked into by the aforementioned ministerial panel.