NEW DELHI:With foreign aid pouring in for India as it grapples with a raging coronavirus second wave, the government on Tuesday said the mechanism for allocation of Covid-19 supplies received from abroad, is put into place.Amid an unprecedented surge in the number of Covid-19 cases across India, the global community has extended a helping hand in supporting the efforts of the Indian government in the fight against the pandemic.
Medical equipment, medicines, oxygen concentrators, ventilators, etc, are being provided by many countries.
“The health infrastructure of several States and UTs has been overwhelmed by the very high number of daily cases and increased mortality,” the government said in an official release.
A streamlined and systematic mechanism for allocation of the support supplies received by India has been put into place, for effective distribution of the medical and other relief and support material, it added.
The steps taken for expeditious clearance on fast track basis are as follows:
.The Goods are given high Priority for clearance by the Customs Systems for processing over other goods.
.Nodal Officers also get alerts on email for monitoring and clearance.
.Monitoring by senior officers for the pendency of COVID-related imports is also being undertaken.
.The Handholding to the trade is given for complying with the requirements beforehand.
.Outreach activities and Helpdesk enables Trade to get the goods cleared on arrival.
In addition to faster clearance,
.Indian customs has waived Basic Customs Duty and Health cess on goods identified for defending Covid.
.When imported free of cost and distributed freely, based on the state govt. certification, IGST is also waived.
.Further, for the import of oxygen concentrators for personal use, IGST has been reduced from 28% to 12%
A cell was created in the Ministry under Additional Secretary [Health], MoHFW to coordinate the receipt and allocation of foreign COVID relief material as grants, aid and donations.
This Cell started functioning on 26 April and comprises of one Joint Secretary on deputation from Ministry of Education, two Addl. Secretary level officers from MEA, Chief Commissioner Customs, Economic Advisor from Ministry of Civil Aviation, Technical Advisor Dte. GHS, Representatives from HLL, two Joint Secretaries from MoHFW and Secretary-General along with another representative from IRCS.
The Ministry of External Affairs is the nodal agency for channeling offers of help from foreign countries and coordinates with Missions abroad. The MEA has issued its own SOPs which are applicable across the board.
Indian Red Cross Society
For all consignments received via MEA and coming as donations from foreign countries; the consignee is the Indian Red Cross Society. Upon receipt of the papers outlined in the process flow chart, IRCS issues the necessary certificates immediately to HLL for processing customs and regulatory clearances at Airports. IRCS also ensures liaison with MoHFW and HLL so that delays are reduced and quick turnarounds are achieved.
HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL) is the customs agent for IRCS, and the distribution manager for MoHFW. The consignments are processed at airport and transported for distribution by HLL. In case of consignments arriving at military airports, or bog items like oxygen plants, Dept. of Military Affairs (DMA) assists HLL.
Accessibility and the immediate use of resources to save lives drive the need for immediate allocation of short-notice incoming consignments. The materials from abroad are currently coming in different numbers, specifications and at different times.
Hence, there is a need to reconcile the distribution logistics with the need to reach the materials as expeditiously as possible to the states. Donor countries consignment details get confirmed only after the consignment gets booked in the country of origin.
In many cases, the items received are not as per the list, or the quantities differ, which needs reconciling at the airport. The final list gets confirmed after the detailed reconciliation. Thus, it leaves less than a quarter day to manage the cycle including allocation, approval and dispatch.
Under these circumstances, since these are time-sensitive supplies, all possible attempts have been made to distribute them immediately and to ensure optimal use in the best possible way. All possible efforts are done to unpack, repack and dispatch these with the least possible turnaround time.
The allocations are done keeping in mind equitable distribution and the load on tertiary health care facilities. In the first few days, the states were covered via the AIIMS and other central institutions where the critical care patients’ load is high and where the need is highest.
Besides, the Central Govt hospitals, including DRDO facilities in and around Delhi and in the NCR region were also supplemented through the aid.
As per the standard Operating Procedure for allocations taken out by the Health Ministry on 2 May:
.Since such grant in aid would be limited in quantity, therefore it has to be optimally utilized by allocating it to high burden states [states with higher number of active cases], where the requirement for such equipment/medicines is more.
.Spreading such grants in aid thinly each time, over a large number of states may not bring forth the desired results. It will also lead to small packages travelling large distances, high turnaround times and possible wastage of resources.
.The requirement of the high burden states in the context of the number of persons admitted in hospitals as well as prior distribution done from GOI resources would also be considered. Special focus can also be on states considered as medical hubs of the region, which have a patient in-flow from neighbouring states/cities. In some cases, resource low states such as North Eastern and hill states where tankers etc., don’t reach, can also be covered to shore up their needs.
Based on the above criteria and principles, 24 different categories of items numbering nearly 40 lakhs have been distributed to 86 Institutions in different States.
Major categories of equipment include BiPAP Machines, Oxygen (Oxygen Concentrators, Oxygen Cylinders, PSA Oxygen Plants, Pulse Oximeters), Drugs (Flaviparivir and Remdesivir), PPE (Coveralls, N-95 masks and gowns),
The States/UTs, which have either received or where the equipment has been dispatched, are:
As the different tranches are coming in, the rest of the States and UTs will also be covered in the coming days.
The following institutions (region-wise) have received the equipment:
1. LHMC Delhi
2. Safdarjung Hospital Delhi
3. RML Hospital
4. AIIMS Delhi
5. DRDO Delhi
6. 2 hospitals in Delhi (Moti Nagar & Pooth Kalan)
7. NITRD Delhi
8. ITBP Noida
9. NEIGRIHMS Shillong
10. RIMS Imphal
11. AIIMS Bathinda
12. PGI Chandigarh
13. DRDO Dehradun
14. AIIMS Jhajjar
15. AIIMS Rishikesh
16. AIIMS Rae Bareli
17. AIIMS Deoghar
18. AIIMS Raipur
19. AIIMS Bhubaneswar
20. AIIMS Patna
21. DRDO Patna
22. AIIMS Kalyani
23. DRDO Varanasi
24. DRDO Lucknow
25. District Hospital Pilibhit
26. AIIMS Jodhpur
27. DRDO Dehradun
28. DRDO Ahmedabad
29. Govt. Satellite Hospital Jaipur
30. AIIMS Bhopal
31. AIIMS Mangalagiri
32. AIIMS Bibinagar
33. JIPMER Puducherry
Central Govt. & PSU