The government has exempted customs duty on COVID-19 vaccines for three months till December 31, which will boost domestic availability and make them cheaper. In a notification dated September 29, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said the exemption would come into force on October 1, 2021, and remain in force up to December 31, 2021.
Earlier in April, the government had exempted basic customs duty on the import of COVID vaccines for three months. Following the conclusion of the three-month period, COVID-19 vaccines import attracted 10 per cent duty.The exemption from import duty would help keep low the cost of overseas vaccines that are being eyed to supplement domestically made shots of Covishield and Covaxin.
Currently, India imports Russia made Sputnik V vaccine. India has granted Emergency Use Approval to five vaccines – Serum Institute’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Russia’s Sputnik V, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.