Image Source : PTI/FILE IMAGE Life-saving drugs get cheaper as FM Sitharaman announces GST exemptions 
Life saving drugs got cheaper as Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announced a slew of GST exemptions on Friday. However, there was no decision on bringing petroleum products under GST. The decision came after a crucial meeting of the GST Council. The 45th meeting of the GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and comprising state finance ministers, is the first physical meeting since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last such meeting took place 20 months ago on December 18, 2019. Since then the council has been meeting via video-conferencing.


Life-saving drugs Zolgngelsma and Viltepso will be exempted from GST. “I am giving the names of two because those two are very expensive drugs – Zolgensma and Viltepso. These two are very important drugs which cost something like Rs 16 crores. So the council has decided to grant exemption from GST for these 2,” Sitharaman said while announcing the decision. 
The concessional GST rates on Corona-related medicines have been extended till December 31st, 2021: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman after 45th GST Council meeting, in Lucknow.
Transport of export goods by vessel, air exempted from GST.
Drugs that are suggested by the Ministry of Health for treating muscular atrophy, on the recommendation of Health Ministry and Dept of Pharmaceuticals, are also exempted for IGST on import for personal use.
GST rates on Retro Fitment Kits for vehicles, used by persons with special disabilities, have also been reduced to 5%.
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.
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.

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.

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

READ MORE: Banks should embrace digitisation to ensure govt schemes reach needy: Nirmala Sitharaman

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