Kolkata, May 9: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exempt COVID-related life-saving drugs and equipment from GST and customs duty to eliminate any supply constraints amid the second wave of coronavirus.
"I am writing to you regarding a critical issue on facilitating augmentation of medical system including infrastructure, equipment, medicine, and oxygen, necessitated due to sudden spike in the number of COVID cases in the country in general and also in West Bengal," she said in a letter to the Prime Minister
"A large number of organisations, individuals, and benevolent agencies have come forward to donate oxygen concentrators, cylinders, cryogenic storage tanks, tankers, and tank containers and COVID related drugs," she said. PM Narendra Modi Speaks to CMs of Punjab, Karnataka, Bihar and Uttarakhand on COVID-19 Situation.
"However, many of the donors and agencies have approached the state government to consider exemption of these items from customs duty/ SGST/ CGST/ IGST," she added.
Pointing out that the Centre holds the authority of tax exemption, she said, "As the rate structure falls under the purview of the Central government, I would request that these items may be exempted from GST/ customs duty and other such duties and taxes, to help remove supply constraints of the above mentioned life-saving drugs and equipment and contribute towards effective management of COVID pandemic."
The Indian government has earlier provided exemptions from customs duty and integrated tax on goods for COVID relief imported into the country.
The coronavirus cases in India continue to mount, with the country reporting more than four lakh infections for the fourth day in a row. In the last 24 hours, 4,03,738 new cases, 4,092 deaths, and 3,86,44 recoveries were registered in India. The total tally of cases now stands at 2,22,96,414.
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