Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reviewed the availability of oxygen required to treat critical Covid-19 patients across India.
In view of the dearth in oxygen supply leading to the death of many patients with Covid-19, the Centre will waive basic customs duty and health cess on the import of oxygen and connected equipment for a period of three months with immediate effect, a report stated.
Moreover, the Centre will also exempt basic customs duty on the import of Covid-19 vaccines with immediate effect for a period of three months.
All ministries and departments have also been asked to collaborate to ensure availability of oxygen and medical supplies.
Basic customs duty was exempted on Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredient.
The high-level meeting also stressed on the need to speed up the process of importing medical equipment to provide oxygen to patients.
The items that will be exempted from customs duty are medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrator along with flow meter, regulator, connectors and tubing vacuum pressure swing Alabsorption (VPSA) and pressure swing absorption (PSA) oxygen plants, cryogenic oxygen air separation units (ASUs) producing liquid/gaseous oxygen.
Moreover, oxygen cannister, oxygen filling systems, oxygen storage tanks, oxygen cylinders, cryogenic cylinders and tanks with which oxygen can be generated have also been exempted.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) planes have been pressed into service to transport cryogenic oxygen tanks from Singapore.
IAF is also transporting oxygen tanks to different places in India to facilitate the supply of oxygen.
Modi also called for better coordination among the government agencies and oxygen producers to meet the huge dearth in oxygen supply that has led to the death of many people infected by the novel coronavirus.