Tax on medicines, some hospital equipment and other items needed in the fight against COVID-19 has been reduced by the Goods and Services Tax Council. The tax cut is based on recommendations by a Group of Ministers amid the pandemic, whose crippling effects on the economy has also hurt household finance, the constitutional body that decides rates for the GST has said.
No tax will be charged for medicines like the monoclonal antibody Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B, used for treating Black Fungus, an opportunistic fungal disease that affects people infected with Covid.
The tax cuts are valid till September 30, and may be extended nearer the deadline.
Covid vaccines continue to be charged a GST of 5 per cent.
There is no change in the GST rate of some items being charged at 18 per cent, such as RT-PCR machines, RNA extraction machines and genome sequencing machines. Genome sequencing kits that are being charged at 12 per cent will continued to be charged at the same rate.
There is also no tax cut on raw material for Covid testing kits.
Other medicines for which GST has been reduced include anti-coagulants like Heparin (from 12 per cent to 5 per cent), Remdesivir (from 12 per cent to 5 per cent) and any drug recommended by the Health Ministry for Covid treatment (from applicable current rate to 5 per cent).
GST has been slashed from 12 per cent to 5 per cent in these equipment: medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrator and generator including personal import, ventilator, ventilator masks, Bipap machine and high-flow nasal canula device.
All Covid testing kits will be charged at 5 per cent GST, from the earlier 12 per cent. Specified inflammatory diagnostic kits like D-Dimer, IL-6, Ferritin and LDH will also be charged at 5 per cent.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the GST Council meeting today. The leaders at the 44th GST Council meet, before announcing the tax cuts, discussed the report of the Group of Ministers headed by Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on tax concessions for Covid relief items.