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Last updated: 30 May, 2021  

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SME Times News Bureau | 30 May, 2021
India Inc. has largely welcomed the decisions taken by the GST Council on Friday to exempt Covid relief items from duty and easing compliance burden for taxpayers but said the measures stopped short of giving complete exemption to taxpayers from late fee payment and also missed out on providing zero rating of Covid supplies.

Industry body FICCI said that the Council's decision providing relief on import of Covid-related items and Black Fungus drug were a welcome move, and now GoM recommendations would be awaited to see what action is proposed on GST rate for other medical supplies for Covid including that for vaccines and ventilators.

"We welcome the decisions announced by the GST Council. We appreciate the government's efforts in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and enabling better access to medical products and solutions to the country and are happy that some of the key asks from FICCI have been considered," Uday Shankar, President, FICCI, said.

"We eagerly look forward to the report of the Group of Ministers formed for consideration of further reductions in GST rates on Covid-related essentials. A quick decision on this front will help us attain self-sufficiency in this need of hour. At this juncture we cannot afford to lose further time," he added.

The GST Council on Friday extended relief on import of Covid-related relief items, if purchased or meant for donating to government or any other relief agency, by exempting it from the Integrated Goods and Services Tax till Aug. 31, 2021. Also, the drug required for treating Mucormycosis fungal infection, has been included in list of items exempted from IGST.

Furthermore, the Council also recommended amnesty scheme to reduce the late fee and provide some relief to the small taxpayers. However, FICCI recommended a waiver from the late fees and interest to provide maximum benefit to taxpayers hit hard by pandemic disruptions.

The decision regarding extension of due dates of various compliances under GST laws for the month of May and June, 2021 will also provide a big relief to the taxpayers during this difficult time. Also, the announcement regarding optional return filing for 2020-21 for taxpayers with a turnover less than Rs 2 crore will provide a further respite to the smaller companies.

"FICCI was also hoping to see a decision regarding our long pending demand for zero rating of healthcare services for a period of 24 months during this pandemic period for the healthcare sector. We believe this would further empower the healthcare undertakings to prepare and tackle the ongoing second wave and impending third wave," Shankar said.

Also, though it was pointed out that amid the current situation it is not the right time to undertake correction of inversion duties, FICCI feels that the matter warrants a quick decision as it continues to impact our competitiveness.
 
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