Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today requested the Centre to exempt the Goods and Service Taxes (GST) on Covid vaccines for the States, thereby facilitating achieve universal vaccination target in the country.
In a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Odisha Chief Minister wrote, “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. 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 also requested the Union Finance Minister to consider sharing of various cess and surcharges on petrol, diesel, liquor etc with the States.
“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. This will strengthen our fight against the pandemic including provision of vaccinations, free treatment, undertaking preventive measures and so on,” the letter read.
Terming the Covid-19 pandemic as a war-like situation, Patnaik stated all the resources should be focused on winning the war against corona. This is not going to be a one-time battle.
Patnaik hoped the suggestions will be examined and urgent necessary action taken in view of the emergency health situation in the country.