Mamata seeks rethink of customs exemption withdrawal on drugs

Kolkata, Feb 8 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said the Centre’s decision to withdraw concessions on customs duty on key drugs will adversely affect many people, and called for rethinking of the decision.

The central government in a notification on January 28 announced withdrawal of concessions on customs duty on 76 key drugs.

“Medicines for cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, heart/kidney disorders, women’s health can become too expensive for thousands who need them.

“The drugs from which customs concession has been withdrawn include those for cancer patients. Cancer treatment is very expensive and often a family is financially ruined for availing chemotherapy.

“Even drugs for diabetes and women specific ailments have been waived,” Banerjee said at the state secretariat.

Claiming that at least 80 percent of the population will be affected by the decision, Banerjee said the Centre should rethink.

“Already subsidy on LPG has been curtailed, this move will create immense burden on the common people.

“I am deeply concerned by this sudden increase in customs duties on life-saving drugs.

“This move will affect around 80 percent of the population, so I think the centre must rethink its decision,” added Banerjee.

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