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Govt waives import duty on raw materials for Covid-19 test kits, Black Fungus drug

The Centre has exempted basic Customs duty on the import of specific APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) for Black Fungus medicine Amphotericin B and the raw materials used for manufacturing Covid test kits.

A notification issued by the Department of Revenue said that the basic customs duty exemption on the import of raw materials for manufacturing Covid-19 test kits will be in place till September 30, and exemption for certain APIs used to produce Amphotericin-B, used in the treatment of Mucormycosis, commonly called Black Fungus till August 31.

The move is aimed at increasing the availability of the anti-fungal drug and testing kits in the country. Duty free import of raw materials is also expected to give a boost to domestic manufacturing of this critical medicine that is in short supply in the country.

In May, the GST Council, among other exemptions, had decided to exempt the import of Covid relief items irrespective of the mode of procurement -- paid or free of cost -- from the payment of Integrated GST (IGST). In another major decision, the Council had also decided to exempt IGST on Amphotericin B.

Further, amid calls for lower levies on items and medicines required in Covid-19 treatment, the GST Council had decided in June to slash rates of several Covid-relief items to 5 per cent from 12-18 per cent levels, although it kept the much-talked about tax rate on Covid vaccines unchanged at 5 per cent. The Council had also reduced the rates of Amphotericin B and brought it to nil level exempting 5 per cent rate.


Credit: Mid-Day | July 14, 2021

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