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44th GST Council Meeting: Highlights, Latest News and Updates

Updated on :  

08 min read.

The 44th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting was held on 12th June 2021. The GST Council had previously met up on 28th May 2021. During the press conference that followed the meeting, the Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitaraman announced that a Group of Ministers (GoM) would be formed to discuss the need for further reductions and decide on any new exemptions for COVID essentials and treatment of Black Fungus.

The 44th GST Council meeting was chaired by the Union Finance Minister. The Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Shri Anurag Thakur, and the finance ministers of the states and Union Territories (UTs), and other senior officers of both, the Ministry of Finance and the states and UTs were present at the meeting.

Latest updates on GST Council meeting

1st September 2021
45th GST Council meeting will be held on 17th September 2021. Tax concessions on COVID-19 essentials may be extended, Matter on GST compensation to states may be taken up, correction of inverted tax structure, etc are on the agenda.

28th May 2021
43rd GST Council meeting took place on 28th May 2021. The Council approved the GST amnesty scheme to be re-introduced, the late fee was rationalised for all taxpayers, especially for small taxpayers and IGST is exempted on import of COVID treating equipment and relief materials up to 31st August 2021.

21st May 2021
43rd GST Council meeting will take place on 28th May 2021 (Friday) at 11 A.M. via video conferencing and will be chaired by Union FM Nirmala Sitharaman.

18th February 2021
Various media sources have stated that the next 43rd/44th GST Council Meeting is set to be held in mid-March 2021.

Highlights of the 44th GST Council Meeting

The 44th GST Council Meeting took a decision to reduce the GST rates on the drugs used to treat COVID-19 and other related medical supplies. These rate reductions or exemptions will remain in force only up to 30th September 2021. The new rates shall apply to newly manufactured stock. Here are the proposed new GST rates:

Medicines required for COVID-19 and Black Fungus treatment:

ItemsOld rateProposed rate
Anti-coagulants like Heparin12%5%
Any other drug (recommended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the Dept. of Pharma (DoP) for COVID-19 treatment)Existing rate5%

Medical equipment required for COVID-19 treatment:

ItemsOld rateProposed rate
Medical Grade Oxygen12%5%
Oxygen concentrators/ generators (which include personal imports)12%5%
Ventilators and ventilator masks/ cannula/ helmets12%5%
BiPaP machine12%5%
High flow nasal cannula device12%5%
Pulse oximeters12%5%

COVID-19 testing kits and items utilised for the prevention of COVID-19

ItemsOld rateProposed rate
COVID-19 testing kits12%5%
Specified Inflammatory Diagnostic Kits, namely D-Dimer, IL-6, Ferritin and LDH12%5%
Hand sanitiser18%5%
Temperature checking equipment18%5%


ItemsOld rateProposed rate
Gas/electric/other furnaces for crematoriums, including their installation, etc18%5%

Expectations from the 44th GST Council meeting

The GoM was formed on 29th May 2021 to evaluate the need for reducing GST on COVID essentials, and it submitted the report to the Finance Ministry by 8th June 2021. The council is meeting to discuss specifically the report submitted by the GoM. The single point agenda of the 44th GST Council meeting is to consider the GoM report and decide whether to reduce the GST rate on COVID essentials or not.

The sources say the GoM has proposed to keep the existing 5% GST on COVID vaccines and proposed the following new GST rates on COVID essentials:

Medicines required for COVID treatment:

ItemsCurrent rateProposed rate
Medical O212%5%

Also, any other drug prescribed by the Health Ministry for COVID treatment shall be reduced to a 5% GST rate.

Medical equipment required for COVID treatment:

ItemsCurrent rateProposed rate
Oxygen concentrator12%5%
Ventilators and ventilator masks12%5%
BipAp machine12%5%
HF nasal canula device12%5%
Pulse oximeters12%5%

COVID testing kits and items utilised for prevention of COVID-19:

ItemsCurrent rateProposed rate
COVID testing kits12%5%
Genome sequencing kits12%No change
RT-PCR machines18%No change
PPE kits5%No change
N95, surgical and other triple-layer masks5%No change
Hand sanitiser18%5%
Temperature equipment18%12%

Other necessities:

ItemsCurrent rateProposed rate
Crematorium furnaces18%12%
Portable hospital units18%No change
Ambulances28%No change

The current and expected GST exemptions and rate reductions are expected to be valid until 31st August 2021.