Exempt COVID related equipment imports and drugs from customs duty and GST, Mamata appeals to Modi

Published : May 09, 2021 20:39 IST

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Photo: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exempt certain items essential to combat the COVID-19 pandemic–COVID-related drugs, oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators and so on–from customs duty and Goods and Services Tax.

In a letter to the Prime Minister on May 9, Mamata pointed out that with the State government “making all efforts to channelise resources from different sources”, a large number of organisations, individuals and “benevolent agencies” had come forward to donate products and equipment that were essential in the battle against COVID, including oxygen concentrators, cylinders, cryogenic storage tanks, tankers and tank containers and drugs. Mamata acknowledged that these donations “will greatly supplement the efforts of the State government in meeting the huge gap in demand and supply”.

“However, many of the donors and agencies have approached the State Government to consider the exemption of these items from customs duty/SGST/CGST/IGST. 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,” wrote Mamata.

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus continued to spread uncontrollably. On May 9, 19,441 new cases were recorded in the State and 124 people lost their lives, taking the total death toll to 12,451. As of May 9, the total number of active cases in the State stood at 1,26,890. The maximum number of cases were recorded in North 24 Parganas (3,997), followed by Kolkata (3,966), South 24 Parganas (1,120), Howrah (1,084) and Nadia (1,004).

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