Roll Back GST for Persons With Disabilities

With the call from our beloved Javed Abidi, Global Chair DPI; Honorary Director, NCPEDP, on behalf of and for the well-being of persons with disabilities this article is posted. Maxability will share this article to all interested parties, email and tweet as much as possible to raise the voice of persons with disabilities. Please share this and create an impact to roll back GST for people with disabilities. 10 days more for the next GST meeting and to implementation.

As you are aware, the GST Council has proposed a levy of 5% GST on all items for persons with disabilities mentioned in list 32. Besides this, GST for the following items specifically has been levied as follows:

  • Braille Typewriters – 18%
  • Braille Paper – 12%
  • Braille Watches – 12%
  • Braillers – 5%
  • Carriages for disabled people – motorised or not – 5%
  • Cars for physically disabled persons – 18%

It is shocking to know that the Council has proposed to levy tax on assistive aids and appliances which are of absolute necessity for persons with disabilities! This very move by the Government infringes the recently passed Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 that provides for equal rights, opportunities and non-discrimination! It is also to be noted that all these items were earlier exempt from VAT and Customs Duty.

In view of the above, various disability groups have been registering strong protests for the withdrawal of the proposed tax on aids, appliances and assistive devices used by persons with disabilities through representations to not just the Finance Minister (FM) at the central government level but also, to the FMs of the States as well!

We were also quite hopeful that the GST Council would heed to these petitions and rollback or significantly reduce the proposed GST during their meeting on Sunday,18th June, 2017. However, this didn’t happen!

The Council deliberated on the tax rate for restaurants in five star hotels but, did not reduce (leave alone abolish) the tax on disability aids & appliances. What is even more absurd is that the Council has decided to levy a 18% tax on restaurants in five star hotels – the same as the tax fixed for Braille typewriters!

On what basis are these tax rates being fixed is beyond comprehension! But, all is not lost! The next meeting of the GST Council is scheduled for 30th June. We cannot let this opportunity slide.

We are therefore, making an urgent appeal to the entire Indian disability sector and all our well wishers and friends to join hands and flood the Prime Minister’s Office and the Finance Minister’s Office with urgent petitions! Please courier letters or send faxes or emails or just a Tweet and a Facebook post tagging the relevant people – PMO (@PMOIndia), Finance Minister (@arunjaitley), Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia), Arun Goyal, Additional Secretary, GST Council (@ArunGoyal59), DEPwD (@socialpwds), etc.

Let us together make both, the South Block and the North Block sit up and take notice. We need to go all guns blazing on this!

We look forward to your support on our campaign on ‘Rollback GST for Persons with Disabilities’ (#RollbackGST4PwDs)!

Updated 21.06.2017

GST: UPDATE AS ON 20.6.2017
The current position of GST on disability aids & appliances as of today is as follows:

  • GST on Braille Typewriters (Chapter 84:32) has been brought down from 18% to 5 %.
  • GST on Braille Watches (Chapter 91:1) and Braille Paper (Chapter 48:8) has been brought down from 12% to 5%.
  • GST on Orthopaedic appliances, including crutches, artificial parts of the body, hearing aids etc. (Chapter 90:9) is still at 12%.
  • Almost all the disability goods, for example Braille Typewriters, Braille Watches, Braille Paper and so on, GST is now at 5% (Chapter 90).
  • Only piece of good news is that Braille Books (Chapter 49:1) are at NIL tax. However, it defies logic as to how will we produce Braille Books when the Braille Paper is being taxed at 5%!!!
  • The Cars for Physically Disabled Persons (Chapter 87:1) are still at a whopping 18% GST.

Information is kind courtesy of Javed Abidi on Facebook. The game is not yet over. We need to keep pressure on government to bring GST at 0% on all assistive technologies and products used by persons with disabilities.

#rollbackGSTforPWDs

Updated on 22.06/2017

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