Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday requested the Centre for exemption of GST on purchase of COVID-19 vaccines and financial assistance to the states from the cess and surcharges collected by the Centre.
In a letter to Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman, the Chief Minister said that as India is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a war-like situation and all resources should be focused on winning this war against the killer virus.
He proposed that as the states have been asked to purchase vaccines out of their own resources to cover the 18-44 years age group of the population, the GST needs to be exempted completely to reduce cost for the states and facilitate their drive towards universal vaccination.
Maintaining that lack of monetary resource should not affect any state which can impact the entire country, the Chief Minister proposed that the additional resources raised through various cess and surcharges on petrol, diesel, liquor etc — which are exclusively available to the Centre — may be suitably shared with state governments at this critical juncture. “This will strengthen our fight against the pandemic including the provision of vaccinations, free treatment, undertaking preventive measures and so on,” he pointed out.