While the governments across the globe are battling the novel Coronavirus, the Ministry of Finance in its recent Notification No. 20/2020– Customs dated 9th April, 2020 has lifted (i) customs duty; and (ii) whole of health cess charged on the following below-mentioned articles until 30th September 2020:

Sr. No. Description of Goods Chapters Standard Rate of Custom Duty/Unit
(as on 31.12.2019)
1. Artificial respiration or other therapeutic respiration apparatus (Ventilators) 90 or any other chapter 10%
2. Face masks and surgical Masks 63 or any other chapter 25%
3. Personal protection equipment (PPE) 62 or any other chapter 25%
4. Covid-19 testing kits 30, 38 or any other chapter 10%
5. Inputs for manufacture of items at S. Nos. 1 to 4 above, subject to the condition that the importer follows the procedure set out in the Customs (Import of Goods at Concessional Rate of Duty) Rules, 2017. Any relevant chapter As the case maybe for the relevant manufacturing item.

Considering the increasing number of positive cases across the country and in general public health good, the Central Government under the powers conferred under Section 25 [Power to Grant Exemption from Duty] of the Customs Act, 1962 has taken the said step. As per the literature of the said section-

if the Central Government is satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest so, as to do, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, exempt generally either absolutely or subject to such conditions (to be fulfilled before or after clearance) as may be specified in the notification goods of any specified description from the whole or any part of duty of customs leviable thereon.” 

Further, as per the said notification, the Central Government has also lifted the whole of Health Cess charged on the above-mentioned items under Section 141 [Health Cess on Imported Medical Devices] of the Finance Act, 2020. As per the wordings of the section, it is stated that:

“In the case of goods specified in the Fourth Schedule being goods imported into India, there shall be levied and collected for the purposes of the Union, a duty of customs, to be called Health Cess, at the rates specified in the said Schedule, for the purposes of financing the health infrastructure and services”

The Fourth Schedule of the Finance Act, 2020 provides for a 5% Rate of Duty on ‘Artificial Respiration or other therapeutic respiration apparatus (Ventilators).

Therefore, from the date of the said notification (i.e.: 9th April 2020) until 30th September 2020, the above-mentioned articles have been duly exempted from charging of any Customs Duty at the above-stated rates and 5% on Artificial Respiration or other therapeutic respiration apparatus (Ventilators) respectively. This exemption shall continue till 30th September 2020 (inclusive of the date), until any further notice or extension by the Government.

This measure taken by the Government shall prove beneficial for companies and manufactures who are aiding the government in the fight against COVID-19 by way of manufacturing the necessary required items.

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