Students’ Federation of India (SFI) has approached the Supreme Court of India to direct the Narendra Modi government to provide universal free COVID-19 vaccination to all it’s citizens and waive off the Goods and Service Tax (GST) that is being levied on the import of personal use -oxygen concentrators.
Mayukh Biswas, General Secretary of SFI representing the organisation, filled intervention application in the Suo Motto Writ Petition by the Supreme Court on the matter regarding distribution of essential supplies and services during pandemic.
SFI, the student wing of CPI(M), in the application points out that the Central Government through notification issued on 1st May, 2021 imposed 12% GST on the import of Oxygen concentrators.
“Considering the prevailing pandemic, there is a dearth of oxygen supplies around the country and the Central Government agencies have miserably failed to ensure basic health care facilities to the citizens of India. In order to meet the demand for oxygen, oxygen concentrators are being imported from various countries. In this scenario to ensure it’s accessibility to all-the common people at an affordable rate the GST shall be waived off,” reas a press release issued by the student body’s central executive committee.
The petition also seeks Supreme Court’s intervention to direct Central Government to lay down an universal mass vaccination policy and provide it for free of cost.
Currently only two pharmaceutical companies, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, has been provided the license to produce the COVID-19 vaccines in India. The petition put forward that the relevant provisions of the Patent Act,1970 can be used to provide compulsory licenses to several pharmaceutical companies in order to ensure production of vaccines at a faster pace and larger scale.
“In the country there are several government controlled pharmaceutical factories in operation. The Central Government could make use of the infrastructure and manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine at those facilities to meet higher demand of the vaccines,” demands the left student organisation.