NEW DELHI : Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the revised GST rate on several medicines, including for the treatment of cancer, on Friday as the minister announced the decisions taken in the 45th GST Council meeting held in Lucknow. “We have taken quite a few people-friendly decisions. I am very happy that some of them are long-pending,” the minister said.
GST exemption has been given on expensive imported drugs like Zologensma and Viltetso, which are not for Covid, the minister said. Reduced GST rates on Covid medicines has been extended till December 31 from September 30, as decided by the GST council, the minister announced.
The meeting is crucial as the council was supposed to take up the issue of bringing petrol, diesel under GST. Reports said all states have unanimously rejected the proposal. Another contentious issue that was taken up by the GST council was imposing GST on Swiggy and Zomato which would make food ordering costlier. Reports said this proposal has been approved by the GST council.
Some reports indicated that the GST Council also decided in favour of increasing the GST on fruit juice from 12 per cent to 28 per cent, which will make fruit juice costlier.
The meeting was held to decide on issues like extending tax concession to drugs being used to treat the coronavirus disease and review tax rates of over four-dozen items, like oncology medicine and coconut oil. The inclusion of petrol and diesel under GST was also discussed in the meeting and all eyes were on the outcome. This was the first physical meeting of the GST council in 20 months and the last one was held before the Covid pandemic, on December 18, 2019.