The government on 03 July 2017 rejected Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s allegations of goods and services tax (GST) rates being “insensitive” to the disabled, saying assistive devices for the physically-challenged will be charged at a concessional 5%.
From Braille writers and Braille paper to wheelchairs, talking books, assistive listening devices and implants for the severely physically-challenged will attract a GST rate of 5%. But inputs and raw material for manufacturing of these assistive devices or equipment attract 18% GST.
In fact, the 5% concessional GST rate on such devices and 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.
On 03 July 2017, Gandhi had accused the Modi government of being “insensitive” by imposing “disability tax” of 5-18% on wheelchairs and Braille typewriters, and demanded its full rollback. “GST on disability aids like wheelchairs and Braille typewriters once again shows this government’s complete insensitivity towards our most vulnerable. Congress Party demands a full rollback of this ‘disability tax’ that will put millions of our disabled people through further hardship.
The government statement went on to list the items that would draw the concessional rates — Handwriting equipment like:-
4.script writing guides