Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who attended the 43rd GST Council meet on Friday through video-conferencing from here, said it deliberated on tax relief on medicines, injections and health equipment required in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. The GST Council, which met on Friday for its first meeting in nearly seven months, left taxes on COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies unchanged, but exempted duty on import of a medicine used for treatment of black fungus.
The council is headed by the Union Finance Minister and comprises representatives of all states and Union territories. “Among several subjects, one pertaining to giving exemptions on medicines, vaccines, PPE kits and other supplies required in the fight against COVID-19 was deliberated on in the meeting. GST compensation of Rs 24,000 crore due from Centre to Maharashtra was also sought on an immediate basis,” Pawar said.
He said all participants in the GST meet wanted a reduction on taxes levied on vaccines and injections. He said the economy of the nation had taken a severe hit due to the COVID-19 outbreak and it was for the Centre to lead the efforts to mitigate hardships and bring relief to people.
Queried by reporters on BJP MP Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati’s warning of protests in the state if demands related to the Maratha quota were not met by June 6, Pawar said a “lot can happen in nine days”, including dialogue to reach a proper solution.