NEW DELHI: The Centre on Saturday decided to waive basic customs duty on covid vaccines, oxygen and oxygen-related equipment for three months to boost availability amid the worsening coronavirus crisis in India.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on measures to increase oxygen supply.the meeting was attended by the Finance Minister, Commerce and Industry Minister, Health Minister, Principal Secretary to the PM, Member NITI Aayog, Dr Guleria and Secretaries of the department of Revenue, Health and DPIIT and other officials.
“The PM emphasised that there was an immediate need to augment the supply of medical grade oxygen as well as equipment required for patient care both at home and in hospitals,” said a statement released by the government.
He stressed that all ministries and departments need to work in synergy to increase availability of oxygen and medical supplies.
The statement said the decision was taken to augment production and availability of oxygen and related equipment amid a spiraling demand in the country.
During the meeting, PM Modi directed the revenue department to ensure seamless and quick custom clearance of such equipment.
Goverment scraps basic customs duty and health cess on following oxygen-realted items for three months:
.Medical Grade Oxygen
.oxygen concentrator along with flow meter,regulator connector and tubing
.Vaccum Pressure Swing Absoption(VPSA) and Pressure Swing Absoption(PSA) Oxygen Plants, Cryogenic Oxygen Air Separation Units (ASUs) producing liquid/ gaseous oxygen
.Oxygen Filling System
.Oxygen Storage tanks, Oxygen cylinders including cryogenic Cylinders and tanks
.ISO Containers for shipping Oxygen
.Cryogenic Road transport tanks for Oxygen
.Parts of the above to be use for the manufacture of equipment for production, transportation, distribution or storage of Oxygen
.Any other device from which Oxygen can be generated
.Ventilators (capable of functioning as high-flow device) with nasal canula, compressors including all accessories and tubing; humidifiers and Viral fliters
.High flow nasal canual device with all attachments
.Helmets for use with non-invasive ventilator
.Non-invasive ventilation oronasal masks for ICU ventilators
.Non-invasive ventilation nasal masks for ICU ventilators
A serious oxygen crisis has gripped the healthcare system in several Covid-hit states over the last few days, with hospitals running low on the critical gas to save lives.
The government has been boosting efforts to ensure adequate supply of oxygen. A special Oxygen Express train has been made operational to supply O2 to states. Meanwhile, IAF planes have been sent to bring in cryogenic oxygen tanks from Singapore.IAF is also transporting oxygen tanks in the country to reduce travel times. Similarly, in a major decision yesterday, free food grains will be given 80 crore Indians for the month of May and June 2021, it added.
On Friday, the defence ministry said that India will airlift 23 oxygen generation tanks from Germany to further boost availability.