The Group of Ministers (GoM) set up to decide on GST relief on Covid essentials – including PPE kits, masks and vaccines – submitted its report on Monday. The GoM was set up after the GST council meeting on May 28 and was mandated to submit report by June 8. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday met Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The report of the panel of state ministers would be discussed in the next GST council meet, which is expected soon.
The GoM on GST concessions on Covid relief items was mandated to examine whether a GST rate cut or exemption is required for medical grade oxygen, pulse oximeters, hand sanitizers, 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 treatment and testing kits for coronavirus 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 May 28 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.