In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Government has issued notifications exempting Basic Customs Duty and/or Health cess on imports of a number of COVID-19 related relief materials, for a limited period. These include-
a) Remdesivir injection/ API and Beta Cyclodextrin (SBEBCD), Inflammatory diagnostic (markers) kits, till 31st Octber, 2021
b) Medical grade Oxygen, oxygen therapy related equipment such as oxygen concentrators, cryogenic transport tanks, etc, and COVID-19 vaccines till 31st July, 2021
The Central Government had received a number of representations from charitable organizations, corporate entities, and other Associations/ entities outside India seeking exemption from IGST on the import of Covid-19 relief material (already exempted from customs duty), donated/received free of cost from outside India for free
distribution. Accordingly, the Central Government has vide Ad hoc exemption Order number 4/2021 dated 3rd May, 2021 has granted exemption from IGST on import of such goods received free of cost for free distribution for covid relief.
This exemption shall apply till 30th June, 2021. It would also covers goods already imported but lying uncleared on the date of its issuance of exemptioni.e. today.
The exemption shall be subject to the following conditions:
State Government shall appoint a nodal authority in the State for the purpose of this exemption. As per section 2 (103) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, state include a Union territory with Legislature.
The Nodal authority so appointed shall authorise any entity, relief agency or statutory body, for free distribution of such Covid-relief material.The said goods can be imported free of cost by a State Government or, any entity/ relief agency/ statutory body, authorized in this regard for free distribution anywhere in India.
The importer shall before clearance of goods from Customs produce a certificate from the said nodal authorities that goods are meant for free distribution for Covid relief. After imports, the importer shall produce, to the Deputy or Assistant Commissioner of Customs at the port within a period of six months from the date of importation or within such extended period not exceeding nine months, a simple statement containing details of goods imported and distributed free of cost. This statement shall be certified by the said nodal authority of the State Government.
This exemption, shall thus enable import of the covid relief supply imported free of cost for free distribution without payment of IGST (upto the 30th June, 2021). As customs duty is already exempt , these imports will not attract any customs duty or IGST.