India likely to waive customs duty on Covid-19 vaccine imports, Health News, ET HealthWorld
The government presently levies 10 percent customs or import duty plus a 16.5 percent I-GST and social welfare surcharge on vaccines coming from overseas. These taxes would make the imported vaccines costlier than the ones made by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech.
“A customs duty waiver is being considered,” a source aware of the matter said.
Another source said a decision is likely to be made “very soon.”
The government earlier this month allowed emergency use of imported vaccines to curb spread of coronavirus infections. With 2.59 lakh new infections, the caseload has crossed 1.53 crore, making India the second-worst affected nation after the US, which has reported more than 3.1 crore infections. India’s deaths from Covid-19 rose by a record 1,761 to over 1.8 lakh.
Sources said discussion on duty exemption on vaccines started sometime in December last year when overseas manufacturers such as Pfizer sought approval to supply its vaccines to India.
The finance ministry and its indirect tax collection arm had done some preliminary calculations on the implications of a duty waiver but a decision was put off until the government approved use of imported vaccines, they said.
The government, which on Monday allowed citizens over the age of 18 years to receive Covid-19 vaccinations “from May 1, currently regulates the sale and purchase of all Covid shots in the country.
Under the third phase of its vaccination strategy, manufacturers will be required to supply 50 percent of their monthly doses to the government and the rest to state governments or the open market.