Govt Slashes GST Rates On COVID Drugs, Other Essentials
New Delhi: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Saturday announced a series of rate cuts and exemptions for COVID-19 essential items, including important drugs against the disease.
The decision to rationalise the rates were taken at the 44th meeting of the GST Council chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Council, however, agreed to stick to the 5% GST on vaccines.
“The 5% GST on vaccines will stay. The Centre will buy 75% vaccines as announced and will pay its GST too. But 70% of the income from GST will be shared with the states,” the finance minister told the media after the meeting.
According to Sitharaman, there will be no tax on Tocilizumab and the black fungus drug Amphotericin-B. The Council has also approved a rate reduction for Remdesivir from 12% GST to 5%, she added.
The GST on ambulances has been reduced to 12% from the current 28%. The Council has also slashed the tax rate on medical grade oxygen, BiPaP machines, oxygen concentrators, ventilators and pulse oximeter from 12% to 5%.
Similarly, the GST on COVID testing kits and specified inflammatory diagnostic kits, namely D-Dimer, IL-6, Ferritin and LDH, has been reduced from 12% to 5%.
The GST on hand sanitizer and temperature check equipment as well as gas/electric/other furnaces for crematoriums has been slashed from 18% to 5%.
The revised GST rates on the specified items being used in COVID-19 relief and management will be valid till September 30, the minister added.