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Sitharaman waives import duty for life saving drug to save 23-month-old Mithra

Wednesday, 14 July 2021 (21:55 IST)
Chennai: Union Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday waived the import duty for life saving drug for treating a 23-month-old girl Mithra, who was suffering from Spinal Muscular Atropy (SMA).

This followed a request made by BJP State Unit chief K Annamalai and BJP Coimbatore South MLA and Mahila Morcha leader Ms Vanathi Srinivasan to Ms Nirmala.

While Mr Annamalai wrote a letter to the Union Finance Minister last evening seeking exemption of import duties on humanitarian grounds for treating Mithra, Ms Vanathi spoke to her on Wednesday morning and got an assurance that her request would be considered.

Ms Vanathi later in a tweet thanking Ms Nirmala, said "Thank you for waiving the import duty for life saving drug of Selvi.Mitra of Erode. By waiving the import duty you have become another mother of that girl".

Earlier, she said she had spoke to Ms Nirmala over phone and requested for waiving the import duty to which the Minister promised to help.

Yesterday, hours after Chief Minister M K Stalin wrote a demi-official letter to Ms Nirmala seeking to waive customs, IGST and other duties for import of life saving drug for treatment of SMA, Mr Annamalai also wrote a letter to seeking help on humanitarian grounds.

In his letter, Mr Annamalai urged the Union Finance Minister to waive of duties, GST for importing life saving drug on humanitarian grounds to treat the 23-month-old girl child suffering from SMA.

He said the girl child, K S Mithra, is suffering from SMA, a genetic disorder since birth and doctors recommended the drug Zolgensma, which needs to be imported.

'The cost of the drug itself is about Rs 16 crore and duties, GST comes to around Rs six crore", he said.

Stating that the Girl's father, who hails from a middle class family, has almost raised the full amount for the drug with the help of kind hearted donors, Mr Annamalai said the drug has to be given before two years of age and the girl child has recently crossed that deadline.

'I request your esteemed self to consider his prayer on humanitarian grounds and on urgent basis and to waive off the duties, GST, other taxes, etc., so that the girl child could be saved in time", he said.

A day after the request was made, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman has waived the import duty for the drug, Ms Vanathi said in the tweet. (UNI)

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