GST Council waives tax on black fungus drug; rates reduced for several Covid essentials: Highlights

NEW DELHI: The GST Council on Saturday waived tax rates on black fungus drug Amphotericin and reduced rates on several other Covid-related essential items like drugs, ventilators, testing kits and others. However, it has decided to continue with 5 per cent GST rate for Covid vaccines.
Addressing the media after chairing the 44th GST Council meet, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Council decided to go ahead with the recommendations made by the Group of Ministers (GoM) in their report.
“It was felt that the GoM’s recommendations have brought substantial change. GST Council largely agreed to go with the recommendations, except for some slight tweaking,” Sitharaman said.
All these revised rates will be valid till September 30 as against August-end, she added.
The meeting was attended by minister of state (MoS) for finance Anurag Thakur, finance ministers of states and Union territories and senior officers from the government and states.
Here are the major decisions taken by the Council:
* In all, the GST Council has revised tax rates on four items — medicines; oxygen and oxygen generation equipment; testing kits and related machines and other Covid relief material.

* GST on Tocilizumab and black fungus drug Amphotericin B has been slashed to nil from 5 per cent earlier.
* 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.
* Tax on Covid testing kits has been brought down to 5 per cent from 12 per cent.

* Pulse oximeters, hand sanitisers and temperature check equipment too will attract lower 5 per cent tax.
* GST on electric furnaces and temperature checking equipment brought down to 5 per cent and on ambulances to 12 per cent.
* The GST Council decided to retain 5 per cent GST on Covid vaccines.
* Centre will buy the 75 per cent vaccine as announced and will pay GST on it too. But 70 per cent of income from GST will be shared with states, Sitharaman said.

* Sitharaman said that when Centre is purchasing and paying GST too on Covid-19 vaccines and they are being given free of cost to the public, the GST rate will make no difference or impact on the people.
* For ambulances, the GST rate has been reduced from 28 per cent to 12 per cent and for hand sanitsers from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.
* Genome sequencing kits will continue to be charged at 12 per cent.

* Specified inflammatory diagnostic kits like D-Dimer, IL-6, Ferritin, LDH will also be charged at 5 per cent.
* The deadline of September 30 may be extended based on advice and states’ inputs and the recommendations of the GST implementation committee after eliciting opinions.
Watch GST council reduces rates on several Covid-related essential items; 5% tax on vaccines to stay

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