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GST Council meeting sans talks on Omicron, life saving Covid drugs

New Delhi, Dec 31, 2021 – Even as India reported its first Omircon death, and the stories of families fanatically searching to buy Remdesivir injections during the second Covid wave popping-up in the mind of people again, the 46th GST Council meeting did not discuss Omicron or GST on corona life saving drugs.

The meeting was held here on Friday under the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

“We already discussed and gave concessional GST rates on Covid-19 treatment drugs in the last GST Council meeting. All GST matters related to corona treatment drugs remain same as per the 45th GST Council meeting,” Sitharaman replied after IANS asked about the GST concession on corona life saving drugs as a third corona wave is predicted in the country by various experts.

In 45th GST Council meeting, extension of concessional GST rates on Covid-19 treatment drugs was approved till December 31, 2021. The GST duty on the infamous Remdesivir injection was 5 per cent and was extended till December 31. Covid-19 life saving drugs namely Amphotericin B, Tocilizumab, Anti-coagulants were the others, enjoyed the extension of concessional GST rates.

Even few more Covid-19 treatment drugs like Itolizumab, Posaconazole, Infliximab, Favipiravir, Casirivimab, Imdevimab, Bamlanivimab, Etesevimab and 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose received reduction of GST rate to 5 per cent in the 45th GST Council meeting held on September 17, 2021 in Lucknow.

The Goods and Service Tax (GST) council, the all-power body to take decision on tax rates on various goods and service, cut the GST rates on corona treatment drugs in its 44th GST Council meeting in June, 21 till September 30, 2021, which was later extended in the 45th GST Council meeting up to December 31, 2021 as well.

Many Covid treatment drugs received reduction of GST rate from 12 per cent to 5 per cent or Nil, which was welcomed by the pharma companies and the public, but highly criticised by few of the GST Council members, the finance ministers of states, ruled by the Opposition parties, as they demanded zero GST on corona treatment drugs and equipment.  (Agency)

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