GST Council meet begins: Focus on aid for Covid drugs, petrol under tax regime

GST Council meet begins: Focus on aid for Covid drugs, petrol under tax regime

The crucial meeting of the GST Council was underway in Lucknow on Friday to decide on issues like extending tax concessions to 11 Covid-19 drugs and reviewing tax rates of over four dozen items, like oncology medicine and coconut oil.

Among other key issues to be discussed are a proposal to bring petrol and diesel under the GST regime and modalities of compensation payable to states from July 1, 2022.

The 45th meeting of the council, chaired by Union finance minister Sitharaman and comprising her state and Union territory counterparts, is the first physical meeting since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The last such meeting took place 20 months ago on December 18, 2019. The meeting was also attended by minister of state (finance) Pankaj Chaudhary and senior government officials.

Friday’s meeting does not have the provision of video conferencing and almost all state finance ministers, except Gujarat, are attending the event.

To curb tax evasion, the council is also likely to discuss a proposal to treat food delivery apps such as Zomato and Swiggy as restaurants and levy 5 per cent GST on supplies made by them, according to reports.Once approved by the GST Council, food delivery apps will have to collect and deposit GST with the government, in place of restaurants, for deliveries made by them. There would be no extra tax burden on the end consumer.

It may also consider a roadmap to make Aadhaar authentication mandatory for existing 8 million registered firms gradually.

Regarding Covid-19 drugs, the council will deliberate on the proposal of extending the existing concessional tax rate structure on Amphotericin B, Tocilizumab, Remdesivir and anti-coagulants like Heparin, till December 31, 2021, from the present September 30. Tax rate on Amphotericin B, Tocilizumab was cut to ‘nil’, while Remdesivir and Heparin was reduced to 5 per cent in June 2021.

The council will also discuss the proposal of reducing GST from 12 per cent to 5 per cent to seven more drugs till December 31, 2021. These are Itolizumab, Posaconazole, Infliximab, Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab, Casirivimab and Imdevimab, 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose and Favipiravir.


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