With Karnataka battling one of the worst crises arising out of an upsurge in the Covid-19 cases, the state will press for pushing the pandemic-related medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to the lowest tax slab at the GST Council meeting on Friday.

“We will request for a reduction in GST rates on these items, not complete waiver of taxes,” Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who represents Karnataka on the GST Council, told ET.

Bommai is also expected to highlight Karnataka’s precarious financial position amid a surge in Covid cases in districts which has compelled the Yediyurappa government to scramble for funds for the healthcare sector.

There is about Rs 12,000 crore due from the Centre towards last fiscal year’s receivables. The Centre had said it will continue to provide these funds after March, and Bommai said he will request for its early release so that it will ease the state’s stress.

“We are once again in the same situation as last year. The second wave has led to a sharp drop in revenues. We will request for extension of the compensation period to come out of our financial crisis,” the home minister said.

The state will also join others to press for extension of five-year transition period for payment of GST compensation beyond June 30, 2022. The Centre currently pays compensation for shortfall in states’ revenues from the collections out of the GST cess levied on sin and luxury items.

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