New Delhi (NVI): As medical supplies like oxygen concentrators and ventilators pour in from many countries, the central government today said a “streamlined and systematic mechanism” has been put in place for its effective distribution across the country.
“The Indian Customs is sensitive to the need for availability of COVID related imports including Oxygen & Oxygen related equipment etc., and are working 24 x 7 to fast track and clear the goods on arrival and lead to expeditious clearance within hours,” said an official statement issued by the central government.
It said the steps taken for expeditious clearance on fast-track basis are:
The Goods are given high Priority for clearance by the Customs Systems for processing over other goods.
- Nodal Officers also gets alert on email for monitoring and clearance.
- Monitoring by senior officers for 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, the statement said.
Further, for import of oxygen concentrators for personal use, IGST has been reduced from 28% to 12%, it said.
About allocations, the government said these 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,” the official statement said.
“It has been seen that tertiary health care facilities normally have higher number of cases with severe symptoms of Covid and are often the only succour to people in the region for quality tertiary care,” it said.
The central government said 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),