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SC and HC on Oxygen Supply and GST

Context:

  • Oxygen concentrators received as gifts or ordered online from overseas would attract Goods and Services Tax (GST), but the GST rate payable was reduced from 28% to 12% by the Finance Ministry recently.
  • The Delhi High Court asked the Centre to drop the GST charged on imports of oxygen concentrators for personal use, just as it has done for donated COVID-19 relief material imports. However, the government’s decision was that the maximum possible relief had already been given by reducing the GST rate.
  • The Supreme Court highlighted the need for the Union government to start preparations for oxygen allocation to the States, its supply and distribution ahead of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court drew the attention of the government to reports that children may be affected in the next wave.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Taxation, GST), GS-II: Polity and Governance (Government Policies and Interventions, Issues arising out of the design and implementation of policies, Judiciary)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Supreme Court’s warning regarding a third wave
  2. GST Council
  3. Recommendations given by the GST Council

About the Supreme Court’s warning regarding a third wave

  • A Bench of the Supreme Court said the government needed to finalise a formula for allocation, supply and distribution of oxygen in a “scientific manner” ahead of the coming third wave of Covid-19.
  • The court said the formula for allocation and distribution of oxygen among the States should be based, among other things, on an “oxygen audit”, that is, to determine the actual need of oxygen in a State.
  • The court underlined the importance of vaccination, saying that Children are going to be affected in the third wave.
  • At one point, the court suggested incentivising young doctors who have completed their courses and young trained nurses to augment the fatigued healthcare professionals who are at the end of their tether.

GST Council

  • Goods & Services Tax Council is a Constitutional Body for making recommendations to the Union and State Government on issues related to Goods and Service Tax.
  • As per Article 279A (1) of the amended Constitution, the GST Council has to be constituted by the President within 60 days of the commencement of Article 279A.
  • The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, for introduction of Goods and Services tax in the country was introduced in the Parliament and passed by Rajya Sabha on 3rd August, 2016 and by Lok Sabha on 8th August, 2016.
  • GST Council is an apex member committee to modify, reconcile or to procure any law or regulation based on the context of goods and services tax in India.
  • The GST council is responsible for any revision or enactment of rule or any rate changes of the goods and services in India.

The council contains the following members:

  1. Union Finance Minister (as chairperson)
  2. Union Minister of States in charge of revenue or finance (as member)
  3. The ministers of states in charge of finance or taxation or other ministers as nominated by each state’s government (as member).

GST Council makes recommendations on:

  • Taxes, cesses, and surcharges levied by the Centre, States and local bodies which may be subsumed in the GST;
  • Goods and services which may be subjected to or exempted from GST;
  • Model GST laws, principles of levy, apportionment of IGST and principles that govern the place of supply;
  • Threshold limit of turnover below which goods and services may be exempted from GST;
  • Rates including floor rates with bands of GST;
  • Special rates to raise additional resources during any natural calamity;
  • Special provision with respect to Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand; and
  • Any other matter relating to the goods and services tax, as the Council may decide.

-Source: The Hindu

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August 2022
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