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Odisha Urges GST Exempt On Vax

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Thursday urged the Centre for exemption on GST for purchase of COVID 19 vaccine to facilitate the State Government intensifying its fight against the pandemic.

In a letter to Union Finance Minister Niramala Sitharaman, Chief Minister Mr.Patnaik said the states have been asked to purchase vaccines out of their own resources to cover the 18 to 45 years age group of the population and these purchases attract the Goods and Service Taxes ( GST) making the vaccines costly for the states.

“Hence GST needs to be exempted completely. It will reduce the cost for the States and facilitate our drive towards universal vaccination,” Patnaik wrote.

 The Chief Minister said that in this long and sustained effort required to fight Covid, it is important that the states are supported so that the entire country fights as one.

“Lack of finances should not affect any state affecting the entire country in turn. Hence the additional resources raised through various cess and surcharges on petrol, diesel, liquor etc which are exclusively available to the Union Government may be suitably shared with State Governments at this critical juncture,” he said and added, “This will strengthen our fight against the pandemic including provision of vaccinations, free treatment, undertaking preventive measures and so on.”

Mr.Patnaik said the country is going through a tough phase In fighting the Covld-19 pandemic.

“It’s a war-like situation and all our resources should be focused on winning this war against corona,” he said adding, “ This is not going to be a one-time battle. We will have a sustained challenge in this fight against Covid till serious advances are made in treatment and vaccination.”

“I hope the above suggestions will be examined and urgent necessary action taken in view of the emergency health situation in the country and to strengthen our unified fight against Covid,” the Chief Minister wrote.