GUWAHATI, June 21 - Ruing the levy of high GST on items essential and indispensable for persons with disabilities, Shishu Sarothi, an NGO here, has stated that the assistive appliances and other aids for the persons with disabilities are not a luxury but a dire need for them.
The GST Council has proposed a levy of five per cent GST on all items for persons with disabilities mentioned in List 32. Besides this, GST has been levied specifically on items like Braille typewriters (18 pc), Braille paper (12 pc), Braille watches (12 pc), Braillers (5 per cent), carriages (motorised or not) for disabled people (5 per cent) and cars for disabled persons (18 per cent).
�The proposal of the GST Council to levy tax on assistive aids and appliances which are of absolute necessity for persons with disabilities has come as a complete shock and made a mockery of the provisions envisaged under the newly enacted Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. For persons with disabilities, the new Act ensures equal rights, opportunities and non-discrimination. It is also to be noted that all these items were earlier exempted from VAT and customs duty,� said Arman Ali, executive director of Shishu Sarothi.
Strong demands by people with disabilities and organisations associated with it have also been made for withdrawal of the proposed tax on aids, appliances and assistive devices used by persons with disabilities. �It was hoped that the GST Council would pay heed to these petitions and roll back or significantly reduce the proposed GST during its meeting on Sunday, June 18, 2017, but it didn�t take place,� Ali added.