Covid

Exempt GST on life-saving drugs, reduce Covid-19 vaccination age to 25 years: Congress

The Congress has demanded that the government should exempt GST on live-saving drugs and equipment used to treat Covid-19 patients. It added that the government must also consider vaccinating people aged more than 25 years.

UPDATED: April 17, 2021 18:34 IST

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) met on Saturday to take stock of the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country. In its resolution, Congress demanded that the Centre should exempt GST from all Covid-related life-saving drugs and equipment.

Besides this, the party demanded that the government should lower the age limit for Covid-19 vaccination to 25 years so that the youth too are protected.

At present, as per the central government’s guidelines, only people aged more than 45 years can take a Covid-19 vaccine shot.

In her opening statement, Congress working president Sonia Gandhi alleged that the central government was according to preferential treatment to non-Congress ruled states.

She demanded monetary support to the poor who were hit by lockdown and restrictions on economic activities.

Sonia Gandhi accused the Centre of being “grossly unprepared” to tackle the second wave of Covid-19 and said the Narendra Modi government failed to foresee the crisis or manage it.

Accusing the Centre of according preferential treatment to BJP-ruled states, she said chief ministers of states ruled by the Congress and its allies have spoken to the prime minister and written to the minister concerned pleading help, but the government has been silent.

“Instead of listening to the constructive suggestions given by the Opposition, Union ministers are pressed into service to attack opposition leaders for giving suggestions,” Sonia Gandhi said.

She also attacked the government over its decision to export the Covid-19 vaccine at a time when India was facing a shortage. She alleged that the Centre is “boasting about its generosity” to other countries while thousands of Indians are dying of Covid-19.

Sonia Gandhi demanded that all life-saving drugs, equipment and instruments required to treat Covid-19 patients must be exempted from GST. She asked why life-saving drugs like Remdesivir and medical oxygen are subjected to a GST rate of 12 per cent and equipment like Oxymeters and life-saving critical equipment like ventilators to a GST rate of 20 per cent.

The Congress party has also urged the Centre to provide monthly income support and transfer Rs 6,000 in the accounts of the economically weaker sections of society hit by lockdown and restrictions on economic activities.

The party said the government should provide safe transportation and suitable rehabilitation to migrant workers in a host as well as home states.

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