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The Financial Express

India exempts customs duty on vaccines, oxygen for three months

| Updated: April 25, 2021 09:41:53


COVID-19 patients sharing a bed as they receive treatment at the casualty ward in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital in New Delhi recently -Reuters file photo COVID-19 patients sharing a bed as they receive treatment at the casualty ward in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital in New Delhi recently -Reuters file photo

Amid a massive oxygen crisis across the nation, the Indian central government on Saturday decided to waive off the customs duty and health cess on import of oxygen and oxygen-related equipment for three months with immediate effect.

The decision was taken during a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country, reports livemint.com.

The government further decided that customs duty on import of Covid vaccines will also be exempted for the same time period.

During the meeting, the Indian prime minster emphasised that there was an immediate need to augment the supply of medical-grade oxygen as well as equipment required for COVID patients both at home and in hospitals. He stressed that all ministries and departments need to work in synergy to up availability of oxygen and medical supplies.

The PM also directed the revenue department to ensure seamless and quick custom clearance of such equipment.

Further, Modi was briefed that basic customs duty was exempted on Remdesivir and its API recently. It was suggested that import of equipments 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 official statement from Indian government said.

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.

The official statement also said, "This will boost availability of these items as well as make them cheaper."

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