Taxing Body Parts

Taxing Body Parts: (Indian Express, Editorial) Cropping pattern, Agriculture, e-technology Tax on survival necessity


  • GST on aids, appliances for disabled directs to the government’s misplaced priorities.

The Paradox:

  • Items of luxury, whose deprivation causes no challenge to human existence, are being prioritized instead of aids and appliances that are essential items for persons with disabilities for their daily routine
  • Crutches, calipers, hearing aids, walking frame and all replacements, albeit artificial, for body parts along with a host of other aids and appliances which the disabled use would attract a GST of 5 per cent.
  • In comparison, items used to embellish your body, will attract less and in some cases, no GST. So, while kajal, kumkum, bindi, bangles and even human hair are not taxed at all.

The required clarification on:

  • First, items like Braille printer, refreshable Braille display and Braille note-taker, talking watches and clocks, audio labelling devices, DAISY players etc are entirely imported items and did not attract any taxes earlier. There are no domestic manufacturers of these products.
  • Second, raw materials like aluminium extrusions, square tubes and round tubes of aluminium used in the manufacture of artificial limbs and many rehabilitation aids were exempt from the earlier tax regime.
  • Third, it needs to be underlined that input tax credit is, in any case, merely a by-product of the tax channels’ unification.
  • Fourth, what the clarification does not mention is that there is a lower slab of 0.25 per cent for items like unpolished stones.
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