Amid Covid wave, GST Council meet begins; may consider duty cuts

The 43rd meeting of the GST Council, the first this year amid the second wave of the Covid pandemic, begun through video conferencing.

The meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and attended by finance ministers of all states and union territories. Senior officers from the Centre and states were also present in the meeting.

The meeting coming from the backdrop of fresh and more deadly Covid wave sweeping the country, discussed and announced a few Covid relief measures, particularly concerning duty relief on essential Coronavirus supplies and other compliance matters.

It also announced few measures to correct the inverted duty while discussed the compensation cess dues arising in 2021-22 due to a possible shortfall in cess collections.
Two other important items, including lowering of GST rates for two-wheelers and bringing natural gas into the indirect tax fold, may also be included in the agenda for discussion.

Sources said certain states like Punjab have sought a GST duty cut on essential medical supplies meant for Covid treatment. The council may accordingly discuss some measures like reducing GST or exempting from duty Coronavirus related items like hand sanitisers, face masks, gloves, PPE Kits, temperature scanners, oximeters, certain Covid medicines and ventilators, among others.         - IANS