Hyderabad: The state government will pitch for abolition of GST on medicines, vaccines and equipment used for Covid treatment at the GST Council meeting on May 28.
Finance minister T. Harish Rao will take part in the meeting called by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman via video mode from Delhi. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has asked the minister to raise this issue at the GST meet.
States such as West Bengal and Punjab have already urged the Centre to abolish GST on life-saving drugs and equipment being used for Covid treatment, besides on hand sanitizers, face masks, gloves, PPE kits, temperature check equipment, oximeters, ventilators etc.
State governments are procuring all these for free treatment for Covid patients at government hospitals as well as for supplying medical kits to the patients under home isolation.
The TS government is of the view that imposing GST ranging from 5 per cent to 12 per cent on these items burdened the states as also those undergoing paid treatment in private hospitals.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on May 9 ruled out exempting Covid19 vaccines, medicines and oxygen concentrators from GST, saying such an exemption will make the life-saving items costlier for consumers. Manufacturers will not be able to offset the taxes paid on inputs, and several states are planning to press their demand again at the GST Council meet.
Currently, domestic supplies and commercial imports of vaccines attract a 5 per cent GST, while Covid19 drugs and oxygen concentrators attract a tax of 12 per cent.
Congress working president Sonia Gandhi has also pleaded that all life-saving drugs, equipment and instruments required to treat Covid19 patients must be exempted from GST.