Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Maharashtra DCM Ajit Pawar (R)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Maharashtra DCM Ajit Pawar (R)

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has dashed off a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking complete GST waiver on masks, testing and personal protective equipment kits and ventilators. Currently, these things attract GST ranging between 5% and 28%.

Pawar told FPJ, “Medical equipment like 3-Ply masks, N-95 masks, Personal Protective Equipment kits, testing kits, ventilators and other medical equipment are extensively required to combat COVID-19. We have received requests from the corporates and NGOs to exempt the medical equipments essential for treating and combating coronavirus.’’ He further argued that the Centre needs to consider GST exemption for these medical equipment as it would be highly helpful in combating the coronavirus in the country.

Pawar’s letter comes on the heels of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, his daughter and party MP Supriya Sule and Maharashtra Minister of State for Tourism Aditi Tatkare and couple of NGOs made a strong case for slashing the GST rates on PPE kits, masks and ventilators.

Pawar brought to the Finance Minister’s notice that the state government is making all out efforts to reduce the transmission of coronavirus. ‘’We have made a strong ‘stay home’ appeal to the citizens and it is being strictly implemented in the state. Simultaneously, all confirmed and suspected cases of coronavirus are treated with proper isolation in public and private sector health hospitals,’’ he said.

He further stated that the principle of trace, track, test and treat is strictly followed in the state with a view to control community transmission of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Pawar announced that the state government will pay a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to kith and kin of the families of police personnel if they die due to coronavirus while discharging their duties. The government will pay the full salary of March to the employees from public health, medical education and police departments.

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