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17 Jun 2021, Edition - 2165, Thursday

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GST Council meet tomorrow; to discuss tax cut on COVID essentials, black fungus medicine



Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will chair the GST Council meeting on Saturday. The high-powered council is expected to decide on tax relief for COVID-19 essentials and black fungus medicine in the meeting.

The Council members will discuss the report of the Group of Ministers, headed by Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, on GST concessions on COVID-19 relief items like medical grade oxygen, pulse oximeters, hand sanitisers and ventilators, among others.

Some of the members of the GoM, set up to recommend rates for COVID-19 essentials, in their recommendations to the Council, had pitched for a rate cut on COVID-19 essentials.

In its previous meeting on May 28, the GST Council left taxes on COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies unchanged. The members could not reach a consensus over the tax cut benefits. Congress and other Opposition-ruled states had sought a reduction in taxes but the Centre feels the tax cut may not result in tangible gains for people.

Ahead of the council meeting held on May 28, the rate fitment committee, under the council, which comprises indirect tax officials from the Centre and the states, had recommended reduction in GST rates of medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters and COVID-19 test kits. The committee too had recommended the status quo on GST on vaccines at 5 per cent.

Thereafter, last week, the GoM headed by Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma had recommended status quo on GST on the vaccine at 5 per cent, while recommending tax reduction on a slew of COVID-19 related items like ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE) kit, among others for a period of three months.

The 44th GST Council meeting will be attended by Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, besides finance ministers of states and Union territories and senior officers from Union government and states, the Union finance ministry tweeted on Friday.

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