New Delhi: Amid an acute shortage of oxygen in various states of the country, the Centre has decided to waive customs duty and health cess on the import of Covid vaccines and O2 with immediate effect for three months. The decision came after Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting to review the Coronavirus situation in the country. The waiver will be applicable on the import of equipment related to providing patients with oxygen, such as generators, storage tanks, filling systems, and concentrators. A nodal officer has been appointed to deal with the customs clearances.Also Read - Ensure Oxygen Tankers Not Stopped: PM Modi Tells CMs After Kejriwal Blames Some States For Hampering Movement of 02
“PM directed Revenue Department to ensure seamless and quick customs clearance of such equipment. It was also decided that Basic Customs Duty on import of Covid vaccines be also exempted with immediate effect for 3 months,” the Centre said in a statement.
Narendra Modi, during the meeting, reviewed steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country. “He 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,” the government said. PM Modi also stressed that all ministries and departments need to work in synergy to up availability of oxygen and medical supplies.
Meanwhile, the central government has decided to import oxygen concentrated from abroad as India battles raging COVID-19 pandemic. “An order of ten thousand oxygen concentrators has been placed and oxygen concentrators import will start from next week from United States America (USA),” government sources told ANI.
To fulfill oxygen demand in the country, the government has tied up with many private companies to import their oxygen concentrators to India to meet the increasing demand for oxygen. “Operating under air bubble with the USA, next flight of Air India from San Fransisco (SFO) to Delhi will carry a large number of oxygen concentrators to India next week. Likewise from Chicago too,” government officials told ANI.