Union Government on 4 July 2017 explained about the GST rates which were fixed for specific devices for physically challenged persons. In its explanation, it listed 22 products or devices for physically challenged persons that will attract a concessional GST rate of five per cent only.
These 22 items have been kept at the concessional 5 per cent GST rate. Assistive devices and rehabilitation aids for physically challenged persons are listed below
1) Braille writers and braille writing instruments
2) Handwriting equipment like Braille Frames, Slates, Writing Guides, Script Writing Guides, Styli, Braille Erasers
3) Canes, Electronic aids like the Sonic Guide
4) Optical, Environmental Sensors
5) Arithmetic aids like the Taylor Frame (arithmetic and algebra types), Cubarythm, Speaking or Braille calculator;
6) Geometrical aids like Combined Graph and Mathematical Demonstration Board, Braille Protractors, Scales, Compasses and Spar Wheels
7) Electronic measuring equipment such as Calipers, Micrometers, Comparators, Gauges, Gauge Block Levels, Rules, Rulers and Yardsticks
8) Drafting, Drawing Aids, Tactile Displays
9) Specially adapted Clocks and Watches
10) Orthopaedic appliances falling under heading No.90.21 of the First Schedule
11) Wheel Chairs falling under heading No.87.13 of the First Schedule
12) Artificial electronic larynx and spares thereof
13) Artificial electronic ear (Cochlear implant)
14) Talking books (in the form of cassettes, discs or other sound reproductions) and large-print books, braille embossers, talking calculators, talking thermometers
15) Equipment for the mechanical or the computerized production of braille and recorded material such as braille computer terminals and displays, electronic braille, transfer and pressing machines and stereo typing machines
16) Braille Paper
17) All tangible appliances including articles, instruments, apparatus, specially designed for use by the blind
18) Aids for improving mobility of the blind such as electronic orientation and obstacle detecting appliance and white canes
19) Technical aids for education, rehabilitation, vocational training and employment of the blind such as Braille typewriters, braille watches, teaching and learning aids, games and other instruments and vocational aids specifically adapted for use of the blind
20) Assistive listening devices, audiometers
21) External catheters, special jelly cushions to prevent bed sores, stair lift, and urine collection bags
22) Instruments and implants for severely physically handicapped patients and joints replacement and spinal instruments and implants including bone cement.
In its notification, the Ministry of Finance said, “Most of the inputs and raw materials for the manufacture of these assistive devices/equipment attract 18% GST. The concessional 5% GST rate on these devices/equipment would enable their domestic manufacturers to avail Input Tax Credit of GST paid on their inputs and raw materials.”
Further, the GST law provides for the refund of accumulated Input Tax Credit, in cases, where the GST rate of output supply is lower than the GST rate on inputs used for their manufacture. Therefore, 5% GST rate on these devices/equipment would enable their domestic manufacturers to claim the refund of any accumulated Input Tax Credit. That being so, the 5% concessional GST rate on these devices/equipment would result in a reduction of the cost of domestically manufactured goods, as compared to the pre-GST regime.
As against that, if these devices/equipment are exempted from GST, then while imports of such devices/equipment would be zero rated, domestically manufactured such devices/equipment will continue to bear the burden of input taxes, increasing their cost and resulting in negative protection for the domestic value addition.
In fact, the 5% concessional GST rate on such devices/equipment will result in a win-win situation for both the users of such devices, the disabled persons, as well as the domestic manufacturers of such goods. It is for this reason that the Council has kept these items in 5% rate slab.
When: July 2017
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