New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is holding the 44th GST Council meeting via video conferencing in New Delhi today (June 12) to discuss additional tax relief on medical supplies which are necessary to prevent and treat COVID-19. It is the second GST meeting of this fiscal year and is chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The previous meeting was held on May 28.

The meeting is attended by the Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur, besides finance ministers and senior officers of other states and Union territories.

The states had asked Sitharaman to provide tax relief on COVID-19 essentials like PPE kits, masks, vaccines, and medicines during the last meeting. In response to this, the Finance Minister had formed a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into possible waivers of GST levied on essential supplies.

The Chief Minister of Meghalaya - Conrad Sangma was designated as the convener of the eight-member GoM, which was to submit its inputs to the council by June 8. The GoM submitted its report on June 7. According to reports, it has suggested a rate cut on some COVID essentials to 5 per cent and no change in the tax rate on vaccines.

UP Finance Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna, who is also a member of the GoM, on June 9 said the state is in favour of cutting taxes on COVID-19 essentials to facilitate patients but will accept the decision of the GST Council on tax rates. Meanwhile, the opposition parties have been demanding a reduction in taxes but the Centre felt it may not result in substantial gains for people.

Currently, 5 per cent GST is levied on domestically manufactured vaccines. For COVID-19 drugs and oxygen concentrators, it is 12 per cent. In addition, GST was exempted on Amphotericin B, a medicine used for treating black fungus in the last meeting.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan