Centre sets up 8-member panel to examine need for exempting GST on Covid essentials
New Delhi, May 29: An eight-member ministerial panel under Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma will examine the need for exempting GST or cutting rate on Covid essentials like vaccines, drugs, hand sanitisers, masks, PPE kits and oxygen related equipment.
The GST Council in its meeting on May 28 had decided to set up a Group of Ministers (GoM), which will submit its report by June 8.
'As a follow up of the decision of the GST Council at its 43rd meeting, a Group of Ministers (GoM) has been constituted to examine the issue of GST concession/exemption to COVID relief material,' the Finance Ministry said.
As per its terms of reference (ToR), the GoM would examine whether a GST rate cut or exemption would be required for medical grade oxygen, pulse oximeters, hand sanitisers, oxygen therapy equipment like concentrators, ventilators, PPE kits, N-95 and surgical masks and temperature checking equipment.
Besides, the panel would also look into Covid vaccines, drugs and medicines for Covid treatment and testing kits for Covid detection.
The other members of the GoM are Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitinbhai Patel, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho, Finance Ministers of Kerala (K N Balagopal), Odisha (Niranjan Pujari), Telangana (T Harish Rao) and UP (Suresh Kr Khanna).
The GST Council on Friday left taxes on COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies unchanged after the BJP and Opposition-ruled states sparred over whether the tax cut benefits will reach the common man.
Congress and other Opposition ruled states have been demanding a reduction in taxes but the central government felt the move may not result in tangible gains for people.
Currently, 5 per cent GST is levied on domestically manufactured vaccines, while it is 12 per cent for COVID drugs and oxygen concentrators.