New Delhi: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor shared a heartfelt story of how Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her office helped a baby named ‘Niharika’ suffering from cancer to acquire costly medicine which levied heavy GST.
Shashi Tharoor in a letter to the Finance Minister stated that a young couple approached him about their daughter Niharika who was suffering from a rare form of cancer “ for which the only treatment was an injection that cost ₹65 lakhs.”
The girl was suffering from ‘High-Risk Neuroblastoma (Stage IV)’ and was suggested to undergo immunotherapy treatment which required the administering of Dinutuximab Beta (Qarziba) which is an expensive medicine.
While the parents had managed to arrange the required sum through ‘crowd-funding’, another ₹7 lacks GST was levied which they couldn’t afford.
He said “I wrote to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 15 asking her help to exempt them from the GST on humanitarian grounds. When there was no reply they approached me again on Sunday (March 26th); the injection was stuck at Mumbai airport but Customs would not release it without the GST payment.”
Shashi Tharoor decided to call the Finance Minister directly and explained to her the condition of the baby and how she needed the medicine immediately as the drug was perishable and would expire in the custody of customs.
Nirmala Sitharaman was sympathetic to the condition of the baby. Tharoor further added that “Within half an hour her PS, Sernya Bhutia, called to tell me she had spoken to the Chairman of the Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. Within ten minutes Chairman Vivek Johari called me asking for more documentation. By 7 pm today the exemption was granted.”
Sharing the joy, Tharoor added that the family will receive the injection and “the baby will live, and our exchequer will sacrifice ₹7 lakhs in GST income to bring life and joy to a small child.”
Lauding the efforts of the government, the Congress leader added “Thank you Nirmala-ji, thank you Sernya and thank you Vivek. You have reaffirmed my faith in government, in politics, and above all in humanity.”
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