On Friday, 17th September in 45th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council Meet in Lucknow, various goods and commodities saw a revision of GST rates. The Council meeting was chaired by Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
GST changes in relation to medicines
One important change made during the meeting was the decision to decrease the GST rates of covid-19 treatment drugs till December 31, 2021. These medicines include: Remdesivir (5%), Amphotericin B (nil), Tocilizumab (nil), Anti-coagulants like Heparin (5%)Favipiravir, Casirivimab & Imdevimab, 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose, Bamlanivimab and Etesevimab.
IGST on import of medicines for personal use, namely:
- Zolgensma for Spinal Muscular Atrophy
- Viltepso for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
- Other medicines used in treatment of muscular atrophy recommended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Department of Pharmaceuticals.
Despite earlier speculations, petrol and diesel were not included in GST due to state jurisdiction over their taxes.
GST rate changes in relation to Goods
Medicine Keytruda for treatment of cancer – GST reduced from 12% to 5%
Retro fitment kits for vehicles used by the disabled – GST reduced to 5%
Biodiesel supplied to OMCs for blending with Diesel – GST reduced from 12% to 5%
Fortified Rice Kernels for schemes like ICDS etc – GST reduced from 18% to 5%
Specified Renewable Energy Devices and parts – GST increased from 5 to 12%
Ores and concentrates of metals such as iron, copper, aluminum, zinc and few others – GST increased from 5 to 18%
Cartons, boxes, bags, packing containers of paper etc. GST increased from 12/18% to 18%
Waste and scrap of polyurethanes and other plastics – GST increased from 5 to 18%
Railway parts, locomotives and other goods in Chapter 86 – GST increased from 12% to 18%
All kinds of pens – GST increased from 12/18% to 18%
IGST exemption on goods supplied at Indo-Bangladesh (Border haats) – Nil GST
Miscellaneous goods of paper like cards, catalogue, printed material (Chapter 49 of tariff) – GST increased from 12% to 18%
Unintended waste generated during the production of fish meal except for Fish Oil – Nil GST
GST in food delivery platforms like swiggy, zomato
The GST Council also decided to tax food delivery platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato etc. Sitharaman informed that 5% GST will be levied at the point where the delivery is made by Swiggy and Zomato. This means that now ordering food online through such platforms will get costlier.
Here are some of the revised rates in GST. On goods, rates of renewable energy devices and parts, iron and copper ores, and plastic wastes were increased. The rates of biodiesel, medicines for personal use, and cancer medicines were decreased, etc.
Nirmala Sitharaman’s words
In a press meet after the Council Meeting, Nirmala Sitharaman said that there had been a lot of media speculation on whether petroleum products would be brought under ambit of GST. “This came on today’s agenda purely because of the Kerala High Court order where it suggested the matter be placed before the GST Council.
The Council members made it clear they do NOT want petroleum products to be included under GST. It was decided, we will report to Kerala HC that, matter has been discussed and Council felt it was not the time to bring petroleum products under GST,” she said.