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India cuts taxes on medical equipment to treat COVID-19

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India has cut taxes on medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators and drugs used to treat COVID-19 infections, after widespread criticism over healthcare costs during a devastating second wave of the virus in April and May.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Saturday that, the government cut taxes on medical grade oxygen, ventilators, the remdesivir antiviral drug, diagnostic kits, pulse oximeters and hand sanitisers to 5 per cent from 12-18 per cent with immediate effect.

The new levies will be in place until the end of September, it would include taxes on electric furnaces in crematoriums and ambulances.

Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj said, “The rate cut has not be done with any cost implication in mind, it has been done so that people get some ease.

“The decision has been taken to provide ultimate ease to patients.

“The government, would continue to tax vaccines at 5 per cent,” he added.

READ ALSO: India reports 84,332 new COVID-19 infections

 

Kamila/Reuters

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