West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has requested for exemption of GST/customs duty and other such taxes on O2 concentrators, cylinders & COVID related drugs as requested by donors. She made the request in a letter written to PM Narendra Modi on May 9.
In view of the request by donors of O2 concentrators, cylinders & COVID related drugs for exemption of these items from customs duty/GST, I request that these items may be exempted from GST/customs duty and other such taxes: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in a letter to PM Modi pic.twitter.com/2MAeamj3x3— ANI (@ANI) May 9, 2021
Citing that a large number of organizations, individuals and agencies have come forward to donate essential medical supplies to mitigate the supply-demand gap amidst the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the donors have approached the state to consider exemption of these items from customs/SGST/CGST/IGST, said the letter.
However, it seems that the CM is not aware of the latest developments in the matter, as the exemptions that she requested are already there. After the request made by the CM was made public, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took to Twitter to inform the newly re-elected Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that an exemption from IGST for imports of a list of Covid-19 relief items was already granted on May 3 while exemption from Customs Duty/health cess was given much earlier.
A list of items for COVID relief granted exemption from IGST for imports was issued on May 3. These were given exemption from Customs Duty/health cess even earlier. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee may notice that items in your list are covered: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pic.twitter.com/IZ1dsamEhU— ANI (@ANI) May 9, 2021
Sitharaman urged Mamata Banerjee to re-check the list as the items mentioned in the list were covered for tax exemption already.
2/ A list of items for COVID relief granted exemption from IGST for imports was issued on 3rd May’21. These were given exemption from Customs Duty/health cess even earlier.— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) May 9, 2021
Hon. CM @MamataOfficial , may notice that items in your list are covered. @ANI @PIB_India @PIBKolkata pic.twitter.com/zuDJP1vOB0
The Finance Minister also informed that all COVID relief material imported by Indian Red Cross for free distribution in the country was fully exempted from duties including IGST.
Detailing out the provision made by the Centre, Sitharaman specified that tax exemption applied to various goods including test kits, oxygen equipment, critical drugs, etc. when imported free of cost for free distribution in the country by any entity, state government, relief agency, or autonomous body basis a certificate issued by any state government.
Clarifying the tax slabs on vaccines, the Finance Minister gave a detailed break-up of the pricing, taxation and exemption informing why a complete exemption of GST on vaccines is not feasible.
The state of West Bengal recorded around 20,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and registered its highest single-day deaths of 127 COVID-19 patients.