Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged the Centre to exempt the Goods and Services Tax (GST) completely on purchase of vaccine for COVID-19 in order to reduce the cost for the States and facilitate the drive towards universal vaccination in the country.
In a letter to Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman, the Odisha Chief Minister said that the states have been asked to purchase vaccines out of their own resources to cover the 18 to 45 years age group of the population. These purchases attract the GST making the vaccines costly for the states. Hence GST needs to be exempted completely. It will reduce the cost for the States and facilitate our drive towards universal vaccination, Naveen added.
He also urged the Finance Minister to provide financial assistance to States from Cess and surcharges collected by the Central Government to strengthen the fight against the pandemic.
“India is going through a tough phase in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a war – like situation and all our resources should be focused on winning this war against corona . This is not going to be a one-time battle. We will have a sustained challenge in this fight against Covid till serious advances are made in treatment and vaccination”, the Chief Minister said.