Amid the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, NCP leader Supriya Sule on Monday urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to waive off Goods and Services Tax (GST) on Medical Equipment frequently used in the coronavirus crisis.
Taking to Twitter, Sule said that due to the rise in the economic crisis caused due to the coronavirus lockdown, the common man is worried and the waiving of the GST will help reduce the burden.
Medical Equipment including Masks, Thermometers, Suits, Sanitizers, Caps and Gowns widely used during the Corona Virus Crisis are taxed b/w 5% to 18% GST. The Common Man is extremely scared and with the Economic crisis arising due to the #coronavirus has made things worse. (1/2)— Supriya Sule (@supriya_sule) March 30, 2020
If GST is waived off for the essential equipments and medicines used in the treatment hereby the prices would come down and the burden of the Common Man will reduce. Requesting Hon. Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) Ji to kindly cancel the GST on the said equipments. (2/2)— Supriya Sule (@supriya_sule) March 30, 2020
After the introduction of GST on pharmaceuticals and medical supplies in India are taxed at four separate rates of Nil, 5%, 12%, and 18%. The nil GST on medicines is currently only applicable to human blood and its derivatives as well as all types of contraceptives. The highest GST rate on medicines i.e. 18% is applicable only to products containing nicotine.
The lowest GST rate of 5% (apart from the nil GST rate) is applicable to pharmaceutical products designated as “life-saving drugs” including oral rehydration salts, vaccines, as well as medicines such as those used to treat diabetes, tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS, malaria, etc. As of yet, no pharmaceutical products are featured in the highest 28% GST rate.
As of date, India has reported over 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. Out of all the states, Kerala and Maharashtra have reported the most in the country. Meanwhile, over 27 people have died so far due to the deadly virus. Due to the outbreak, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had put India under a national lockdown for 21 days. Further, India has also closed the India-Pakistan border and restricted passenger movement at the border with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Myanmar.