Mumbai: Relief packages that are to be sent to Kerala were held up at different airports without tax clearances. This information trickled out and created a controversy, after it was picked up by local media which questioned the hold-up of aid in these times of distress. After the outcry, the central government, in a knee-jerk response, decided to exempt relief packages from taxes and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST).
According to Asianet News, the central government had not exempted relief from customs duty. This resulted in various food and other items gathering dust at airports. But after the reports surfaced, the government sprang into action and announced that customs duty on these consignments will be abolished. Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, “India stands with Kerala in this hour of need. Central Government is exempting basic customs duty and IGST for consignments of aid and relief materials being despatched or imported from abroad for the affected people.” It also announced that IGST is exempted. An individual who has been involved in sending relief packages from Mumbai to Kerala, said, “We never imposed IGST. The states understood that these were items that were going to flood-affected Kerala.”