5% GST on COVID vaccines to stay, no tax on black fungus drugs

The GST Council on Saturday decided to slash rates of several Covid-relief items to 5% from existing 12 to 18% levels but kept the much-anticipated tax rate on vaccines unchanged at 5%.

Addressing the media, post the GST Council meeting, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the council agreed to go with the recommendations of the Group of Ministers (GoM) that was single point agenda on the council. It further agreed to stick to a 5% GST rate on the COVID-19 vaccine. There will be no change in the GST rate for vaccines, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The GST Council has also decided to slash rates for Tociluzumab, Amphotericin to nil level. Besides that, the Council also gave approval to GST rate reduction for Remdesivir from 12% to 5%. The GST on ambulances has been reduced to 12%.

No GST would be levied on Amphotericin B, the antifungal drug used for black fungus treatment, Nirmala Sitharaman said following the 44th GST Council Meeting.

“GST on electric furnaces and temperature checking equipment brought down to 5% and on ambulances to 12%. These rates will be valid till September as against August end recommended by the GoM,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on the outcome of the 44th GST Council meeting.

The special duty cuts would be applicable till September 30, 2021.

Sitharaman said that though the GoM recommended the rate cuts till August, the council decided to keep it till September end and later decide if further extension was required.

In another major move, the GST rate on ambulances has been reduced to 12% from the previous 28%.