43rd GST Council meeting today: Priyanka Gandhi asks Centre to remove GST from life-saving medicines, equipment

43rd GST Council meeting today: Priyanka Gandhi asks Centre to remove GST from life-saving medicines, equipment

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Priyanka Gandhi GST councilImposing GST on essential medical products like oxygen, ventilators, vaccines and medicines during a pandemic is cruel and insensitive, said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today said that the Centre should remove GST imposed on life-saving medicines and critical equipment being used in the war against COVID-19. Sharing a list of items and with the GST rates imposed on them, she said that it’s cruel and insensitive to charge GST on such goods. “Imposing GST on essential medical products like oxygen, ventilators, vaccines and medicines during a pandemic is cruel and insensitive. In today’s GST Council meet, the government should remove GST from all life-saving medicines and equipment that are being used to fight Covid,” she said in a tweet.

The list includes items like sanitiser, hand wash, soap, surgical rubber gloves, disinfectants, thermometer, ventilators, oxygen concentrators, medical oxygen cylin][=ders, remdesivir and other COVID drugs, COVID-19 testing kits, PPE kits, face masks and vaccines.

All state finance ministers take part in the GST council meeting chaired by the Union Finance Minister. States like Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal and Jharkhand had already devised a strategy to push the demand for a zero tax on COVID-19 essentials items.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 43rd GST Council meeting via video conferencing at 11 am today. The council met for the first time in nearly eight months. It may be noted that a reduction in the tax rates on Covid drugs, vaccines and medical equipment was already on the agenda today.

FM Sitharaman had earlier ruled out a cut on GST imposed on COVID-19 medicines, vaccines and oxygen concentrators saying that the exemption will make the items costlier for consumers as companies won’t be able to offset the taxes paid on inputs.

The Finance Ministry has informed that Nirmala Sitharaman will be holding a media briefing at 7 pm today. i.e. May 28 on the outcomes of the 43rd GST Council meeting.

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