New Delhi (NVI): In the backdrop of massive oxygen crises following COVID-19 cases, the union government today decided to waive off the customs duty and health cess on import of oxygen and oxygen related equipment for three months with immediate effect.
This was decided during a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country.
During the meeting, PM emphasized 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.
“It was suggested that import of equipment related to providing oxygen to patients needs to be expedited. In order to augment their production and availability and to meet the rising demand, it was decided to grant full exemption from Basic Customs Duty and health cess on import of the items related to Oxygen and Oxygen related equipment for a period of three months with immediate effect,” the health ministry said in a statement.
The oxygen and oxygen related equipment include medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrator along with flow meter, regulator, connectors and tubing, oxygen cannister, oxygen filling systems, oxygen storage tanks, oxygen cylinders including cryogenic cylinders and tanks etc.
Further, it was also decided that Basic Customs Duty on import of Covid vaccines be also exempted with immediate effect for a period of three months.
This will boost availability of these items as well as make them cheaper.
Modi directed the Revenue Department to ensure seamless and quick custom clearance of such equipment.
Accordingly, the Department of Revenue has nominated Gaurav Masaldan, Joint Secretary, Customs, as the nodal officer for issues related to customs clearance for the above-mentioned items.
The Government of India has taken a lot of measures in the last few days to improve supply of oxygen and medical supplies. IAF planes are bringing 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.