In all the clamour in Parliament recently -and there has been a lot of it - this bit in the finance minister's vote-on-account speech seems to have gone unchallenged.
"(The) ministry of health and family welfare has requested that services provided by cord blood banks are also healthcare services and should be exempt from service tax. I propose to accept the request," Chidambaram read out.
Healthcare services are exempt from service tax on the grounds that they serve a larger social good.
While cord blood banking, in which blood from the umbilical cord is preserved as a potential source of stem cells, can be considered a healthcare service, the main beneficiary of this would be private cord blood banks.
And whether these companies need a waiver needs to be questioned.
For one, the benefits of private cord blood banking are limited, despite Aishwarya Rai Bachchan suggesting that parents "preserve the lifesaving gift of umbilical cord" in front-page advertisements.
Text: Indulekha Aravind, Business Standard
Image Courtesy: Lifecell