The central government has exempted the basic customs duty and goods and services tax (GST) on goods imported or supplied to support the relief operations in flood-hit Kerala. The devastating Kerala floods have claimed the lives of 223 people till August 20. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted about the relaxation on taxes on goods imported to Kerala on Monday. “India stands with Kerala in this hour of need. Central Government is exempting basic customs duty and IGST for the consignments of aid and relief materials being despatched or imported from abroad for the affected people,” said Mr Goyal on microblogging site Twitter.
IGST stands for Integrated Goods and Services Tax. It is levied by the central government on inter-state supply of goods and services.
A notification to this effect is likely to be issued on Tuesday, reported news agency Press Trust of India, citing sources. The notification will be later placed in the next meeting of the GST Council, the PTI report stated sources as saying.
The tax exemptions will be valid till December 31, 2018.
Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written to the Union Finance Minister requesting for a general exemption of Customs duty and IGST for consignments being despatched or imported from abroad for relief works in the state.
Meanwhile, efforts are still on to restore essential services along with relief and rescue in Kerala, where at least a thousand people are still stranded in five villages around Chengannur – a town in Alappuzha. Phone connectivity has been restored in 90 per cent of the flood-ravaged state and there is enough fuel and animal fodder, the authorities said.
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