New Delhi: Centre’s decision to waiver off basic customs duty on Covid vaccines, oxygen and oxygen-related equipment for three months came as a sigh of relief for the country which can boost availability of the vaccines and oxygen amid the worsening Covid-19 crisis in India.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting on Saturday chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on measures to increase oxygen supply.
“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.
In his address 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.
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 sent to bring in cryogenic oxygen tanks from Singapore.
On Friday, the defence ministry said that the country will airlift 23 medical oxygen generation tanks from Germany to further boost availability for the Covid patients.