Manasi Joshi’s demand for GST waiver reopens debate on tax on disability aids

“The prosthesis that I use is made for walking and that I use for sport…It’s like we have to pay tax for walking,” Joshi said.

Para-badminton world champion Manasi Joshi’s demand for waiver of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on her prostheses has restarted the dialogue on the 5 per cent or more tax that disability aids and devices continue to attract.

“The prosthesis that I use is made for walking and that I use for sport…It’s like we have to pay tax for walking. Why should anybody pay taxes for procuring equipment that is important for my day-to-day activities? That’s why I’ve requested the government to waive off GST and subsidise this,” Joshi told PTI recently.

When the GST regime came into effect in July 2017, the tax on disability aids and devices were decided at a whopping 18 per cent. A public outcry forced the government to scale it down to 5 per cent but not drop it entirely.

Like Joshi, the disabled community terms the tax on their aids — like wheelchairs, specially equipped motor-vehicles for wheelchair users, tricycles for disabled, hearing aids braille-paper, braille typewriters and braille watches — as a levy on their everyday life and living,

GST is ridiculous and sad. We need a zero-rated GST where the entire supply chain of disability aids isn’t taxed. Such a tax is equivalent to a tax on walking, seeing or hearing. Gandhi, in pre-Independence India, fought for a tax on salt. Shocking that the disabled today are…

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