CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan on Saturday reiterated the State government’s stand that zero-rating GST should be levied for Covid medicines and equipment for a certain period. He added that the recommendation of the Group of Ministers, formed on May 29 to consider waiver of GST levied on essential Covidrelief material, including vaccines, was not acceptable to Tamil Nadu.
Participating in the 44th GST Council meeting, chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Thiagarajan said, “Either zero- rating or only 0.1 per cent GST should be levied on Covid medicines and equipment.” He also urged the Council to approach the issue of deciding tax ratio for items relating to Covid treatment with compassion.
On May 13, Chief Minister MK Stalin had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to waive GST on Covid vaccines and other medicines. In the previous meeting, Thiagarajan reiterated the demand. “There are certain legal issues in enabling zero rating. But it can be overcome through necessary legislation or by promulgating an ordinance once we reach a consensus,” he had said.
Tax cut for temperature monitors
An official release said that the GoM did not recommend zero rating or levying 0.1 per cent GST on the items. While the tax on Tocilizumab and Amphotericin-B was slashed to nil, the group also recommended reduction of GST on Heparin and Remdesivir, and any other medicine used for Covid treatment, from 12 per cent to five per cent.
Further, the GoM did not make any recommendation on reducing tax on Covid vaccines, RTRT-PCR machines, RNA extraction machines, genome sequencing machines, PPE kits, N95 masks, ambulances and portable hospital units.
However, the Council decided to reduce the tax on temperature checking equipment from 18% to 5%, and tax on ambulances from 28% to 12%. Similarly, it was also decided to reduce gas/electric/other furnaces for crematorium, including their installations, etc., from 18% to 5%. These concessions would be till September 30.