HYDERABAD: With GST regime coming into force from today, persons with disabilities are a worried lot and want a complete rollback of tax imposed on various aids and devices used by them. Following several representations submitted by organisations of PWDs after holding a consultation on June 11, the current tax rates have been revised. The 18 per cent tax on Braille typewriters, paper and watches, and the 12 pc tax on carriages have been brought down to 5 per cent. Yet, there are other items like crutches, artificial limbs and hearing aids which are taxed at 12 per cent and cars at 18 per cent.
But none of those items was being taxed earlier, point out organisations working for PWDs. Demanding a rollback of the tax, a campaign, #RollBackGSTforPWDs, was launched in social media a few days ago as part of a national campaign. The Network of Persons with Disability Organisations (NPDO), a pan-India organisation working for rights of PWDs, has taken the matter to notice of the Prime Minister.
The state’s socio-economic survey found that most disabled people in TS live in rural areas. “The only thing the government provides us is wheelchairs which are useful but outdated. We seek to become independent and move around, and prefer motor vehicles. We cannot purchase them if there is a tax levied on these items. Basic aids too now come under tax and that is not acceptable either,” said M Srinivasulu, convener of NPDO.