Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman
Photo Credit: PTI

As expected, the GST Council announced tax cuts on essential COVID vaccine items.

The GST Council on Saturday slashed the tax rate on COVID-19 medicines such as Remdesivir and equipment like oxygen concentrators and medical grade oxygen.

While GST on Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B is slashed to nil from 5 percent, the rate on Remdesivir and anti-coagulants like Heparin is lowered from 12 percent to 5 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, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Also, tax on COVID testing kits has been brought down to 5 per cent from 12 per cent.

Pulse oximeters, hand sanitisers, temperature check equipment and ambulances too will attract lower 5 percent tax, she said.

GST on electric furnaces and temperature checking equipment brought down to 5 percent and on ambulances to 12 percent. These rates will be valid till September as against August end recommended by the GoM," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on the outcome of 44th GST Council meet.

On June 12, Sitharaman announced tax cut COVID-19 essential items. The decision was taken during the meeting of the GST Council held earlier in the day. No decision was taken on black fungus medicine.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 44th GST Council Meeting on Saturday (June 12) via video conferencing. The meeting begin at 11 AM.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) was formed after the last GST Council meeting on May 28 to deliberate on possible reductions in COVID-related items.

The GoM includes Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho, Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal, Odisha Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari, Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao, and Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Suresh Khanna.

In its previous meeting on May 28, the GST Council referred the decision over the tax rates on COVID vaccines to a group of ministers (GoM). The GST Council meeting will discuss the report of the GOM, headed by Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, on GST concessions on COVID-19 essential items, and decide on the final GST rates.

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