West Bengal: Refusal to nix Covid tax anti-people, says TMC | Kolkata News


KOLKATA: The BJP-led Centre’s refusal to remove tax from life-saving Covid drugs and medical equipment in the middle of the pandemic was “unfortunate and inhuman”, the Trinamool Congress said on Saturday.
The decision to go on with GST on even ambulances ferrying patients to hospital even as crores were being spent on projects like Central Vista was “anti-people”, Trinamool seniors added.
Party Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray referred to Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s May 9 letter to PM Narendra Modi, in which she mentioned how organisations, individuals and benevolent agencies — who had come forward to donate medicines and medical equipment like oxygen concentrators and cylinders — were pleading for exemption from customs duty, GST and other taxes. “We have noted with concern that these demands, forwarded by CM Banerjee, have not been acknowledged,” Ray said.
Bengal education minister Bratya Basu said the Trinamool Congress would take this to the people. “This government, instead of helping people during a crisis, is bent on taxing them. We want this decision to be reversed. There should be no tax on life-saving drugs, equipment and ambulances,” Basu added.
Ray called the Centre’s priorities “baffling”. “We have seen bodies being buried along river banks or flung into the Ganges. But, the Centre does not seem to be bothered by all this; it is imposing taxes when people are suffering and need help,” he said.
Banerjee, in her May 9 letter, had pointed out that the GST rate varied between 5% and 12% on various items now being used to treat Covid. Exemption of GST and duty was a critical issue to facilitate augmentation of medical infrastructure and logistics, she had added.

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