Several scientists have criticized the Centre’s recent move to increase the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on research equipment. At its 47th meeting on July 18 in Chandigarh, the GST Council approved new rates for a variety of commodities and services. This was a decision to eliminate the 5 percent concessional GST rate applicable to scientific equipment and increase it to “applicable rates” of between 12 and 18 percent.
According to experts, this would immediately result in a 6 percent to 12 percent decrease in research money available to laboratories for expenditures. This would have an enormous effect on the finances.
The funds awarded to research organizations are presently insufficient to purchase equipment and consumables; consequently, funding bodies should increase their fund disbursements by 13% to mitigate the impact. In the Union Budget for 2022-2023, the Ministry of Science and Technology was allocated 14,217 crore, a decrease of 3.9% from the previous fiscal year.