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GST Council Meet: Nirmala Sitharaman announces concession extensions on COVID-19 drugs, tax rationalisation, but fuel kept out of tax regime

09:26 PM Sep 17, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a few sops for essential drugs, exporters, Railways, among others. Some announcements were on predicted lines such as not bringing petrol and diesel under the GST regime, bringing Swiggy and Zomato under the GST net.

The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 45th meeting Goods and Service Tax Council comprising state finance ministers in Lucknow today. The meeting was the first in-person meeting between the Union Finance Minister and State Finance Ministers today (September 17). The last such meeting took place 20 months ago on December 18, 2019.

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GST Council on Friday decided to charge food delivery platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato a tax even as it extended concessional tax rates on certain COVID-19 drugs by three months till December 31.

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The Council, which comprises the Union finance minister and her state counterparts, decided to continue keeping petrol and diesel out of the GST purview as subsuming the current excise duty and VAT into one national rate would impact revenues.

Also Read: GST Council Meet: Nirmala Sitharaman announces exemption for life-saving drugs; says 'not right time' to bring petrol, diesel under regime

Briefing reporters on the decisions taken by the Council at a meeting here, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said GST has been exempted on muscular atrophy drugs like Zolgensma and Viltepso, which cost crores of rupees.

It extended the period of concessional GST rates on certain COVID-related drugs by three months till December 31 but decided not to give the same benefit to medical equipment.

The concessional regime for certain medical equipment will end on September 30.

Sitharaman said 5 per cent GST will be levied at the point where the delivery is made by Swiggy and Zomato.

Also, the Council cut GST rate from 12 per cent to 5 per cent on cancer-related rugs and on fortified rice kernels to 5 per cent from 18 per cent.

GST rate on bio-diesel for blending in diesel was reduced to 5 per cent from 12 per cent, while the national permit fee for goods carriage has been exempt from GST.

Import of leased aircraft have also been exempted from payment of I-GST, the finance minister said.

"GST Council felt it was not the right time to include petroleum products in GST," she said.

The panel decided to levy 18 per cent GST on all sorts of pens. Specified renewable sector devices will be charged 12 per cent tax.

GST Council also recommended new footwear and textile rates from January 1.

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