The Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council on Saturday announced the tax rate on essential medical supplies for COVID-19 treatment will be reduced. Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 44th GST Council meeting via video conference. GST on Ambulances, oxygen concentrators, and medicines has been reduced.
The council on the recommendation of a Group of Ministers (GoM) reduced the tax rates on several items until September 30. The council, however, announced that the deadline can be extended if necessary.
While COVID-19 vaccines will still incur a 5 percent GST, FM Sitharaman said that the Central government would be sharing 70 percent of the GST income with the state governments. The Centre would be procuring 75 percent of all vaccines and paying the GST on them as well, she added.
Apart from COVID-19 vaccines, Tocilizumab, the monoclonal antibody drug used to treat COVID-19, and Amphotericin B, the medicine for the treatment of black fungus will attract zero GST. The GST on anti-coagulant drug Heparin also was reduced to 5 percent.
COVID-19 medicine like Remdesivir and other drugs recommended for treatment by the health ministry and Department of Pharma (DoP) saw their GST rate slashed to 5 percent as well.
COVID-19 test kits and other blood test kits including D-Dimer, IL-6, Ferritin, and LDH will now attract a reduced GST of 5 percent compared to the earlier 12 percent.
The GST rates were decreased from 12 percent to 5 percent for medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrator/generator (including personal imports), ventilators, ventilator masks /cannula /helmet, BiPAP machine, and high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) device.
Miscellaneous COVID-19 relief material
Other COVID-19 related materials like pulse oximeters, and personal imports of the item, were reduced to 5 percent from the previous 12 percent. Hand sanitizers and temperature checking equipment GST rates were reduced from 18 percent to 5 percent.
Furnaces, both gas and electric, for crematoriums and the taxes on their installation were slashed from 18 percent to 5 percent as well. The GST rate for ambulances was decreased to 12 percent from 28 percent also.