Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday (April 20) urged the government to waive Goods and Services Tax (GST) on all COVID-19-related equipment saying it was “wrong” on part of the government to charge GST on sanitisers, soaps and masks.
“Amid the COVID-19 crisis, we have been constantly demanding GST exemption on all small, big equipment related to management of this pandemic,” Gandhi tweeted.
#Covid19 के इस मुश्किल वक्त में हम लगातार सरकार से माँग कर रहे हैं कि इस महामारी के उपचार से जुड़े सभी छोटे-बड़े उपकरण GST मुक्त किए जाएँ।बीमारी और ग़रीबी से जूझती जनता से सैनीटाईज़र, साबुन, मास्क, दस्ताने आदि पर GST वसूलना ग़लत है। #GSTFreeCorona माँग पर हम डटे रहेंगे। pic.twitter.com/iXLkw7lMxM
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 20, 2020
“It is wrong to collect GST on sanitisers, soaps, masks, gloves etc. from the people who are suffering from disease and poverty. We will stand by our demand of #GSTFreeCorona,” he said.
Gandhi attached a list of items which included the GST charges government. According to the list, 18 per cent GST is levied on sanitisers, liquid hand wash and furniture such as hospital beds and examination tables, 12 per cent on blood test strips, medical grade oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, and 5 per cent on masks, diagnostic kits and some life saving drugs including vaccines.
The Youth Congress had launched a campaign separately demanding that GST should not be charged on equipment related to coronavirus.
Last week, in a press conference held via video-conferencing, Rahul Gandhi had said the government’s COVID-19 testing is not up to the mark, and is neither strategic.
“Lockdown is neither a solution, nor a treatment. Therefore, we must come out from the lockdown phase. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role should be to empower the states,” he said.
Describing the current situation as “emergency”, Gandhi said it’s important that the COVID-19 fight is taken to the district level. “We are in a very serious situation. People of India and parties need to work together,” he said.