In an attempt to speed up clearances of goods received free of cost for distribution for Covid relief, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday undertook a quick follow up action by briefing the chief secretaries of the states on the order on IGST exemption.
The Centre on Monday exempted from IGST or integrated GST the import of goods received free of cost for distribution for Covid relief. The exemption is ad hoc and applicable on all specified imports made till June 30, 2021.
The exemption will also cover goods already imported but lying uncleared on the date of issuance of exemption which starts from Monday.
In a tweet. Sitharaman said: "Quick follow-up action in briefing Chief Secretaries of states on today's order of IGST exemption on specified #COVID19 relief materials (Customs duty waiver given earlier). Will speed up clearance for charitable organisations and others."
The government had earlier issued a notification exempting from basic customs duty and/or health cess imports of a number of Covid related relief materials for a limited period.
These included Remdesivir injection/ API and Beta Cyclodextrin (SBEBCD), inflammatory diagnostic (markers) kits, imports of which has been exempted from Customs duty till Octber 31, 2021.
Also, imports of medical grade oxygen, oxygen therapy related equipment such as oxygen concentrators, cryogenic transport tanks etc., and Covid-19 vaccines have been exempted till July 31, 2021.
The Central government had received a number of representations from charitable organisations, corporate entities and other associations/entities seeking IGST exemption on the import of Covid-19 relief material (already exempted from Customs duty), donated/received free of cost from outside the country for free distribution.
The IGST exemption, however, will be conditional. The Centre had decided that the state governments shall appoint a nodal authority in the states for the purpose of this exemption. Such authority will then authorise any entity, relief agency or statutory body for free distribution of such Covid-relief material.
The Finance Ministry statement said that goods can be imported free of cost by a state governent or any entity/relief agency/statutory body authorized in this regard for free distribution anywhere in India.
The importer shall produce a certificate from the said nodal authorities stating that the goods are meant for free distribution for Covid relief.
Also, after imports, the importer shall produce to the deputy or assistant commissioner of Customs at the port within a period of six months from the date of importation or within such extended period not exceeding nine months, a simple statement containing details of goods imported and distributed free of cost. This statement shall be certified by the said nodal authority of the state government.
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