To improve supply of medical oxygen in the country, which has been hit hard by the second  Covid-19 wave, the  government on Saturday waived the Customs duty and  the health cess  for three months on import of medical oxygen and a slew of  equipment related to production of the gas. The Centre also granted basic Customs duty and health cess exemption on Covid-19 vaccines with immediate effect for three months.

These measures, which were taken at a high-level review meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, are  expected to boost availability of medical oxygen and Covid-19 vaccines and make them cheaper.

Post the high-level meeting convened by the Prime Minister, the Revenue Department issued the import duty and health cess exemption notification that will be valid up to July 31.

Several cities, including Delhi, have been reeling under the shortage of medical oxygen with Covid-19 cases surging over the past few weeks. For the third day running, the Covid tally, at 3,45,159, was higher than that  recorded anywhere in the world.

Exemption list

The Prime Minister also stressed that all ministries and departments need to work in synergy to increase the availability of oxygen and medical supplies, an official release said.

Besides medical oxygen, the list of equipment on which basic customs duty and health cess have been exempted includes: Oxygen concentrator along with flow meter, regulator, connectors and tubing; vacuum pressure swing absorption (VPSA) and pressure swing absorption (PSA) oxygen plants, cryogenic oxygen air separation units (ASUs) producing liquid/gaseous oxygen; oxygen cannister; oxygen filling systems; oxygen storage tanks, oxygen cylinders, including cryogenic cylinders and tanks; oxygen generators; ISO containers for shipping oxygen; cryogenic road transport tanks for oxygen; parts to be used in the manufacture of equipment for production, transportation, distribution or storage of oxygen and any other device from which oxygen can be generated.

Customs duty and health cess exemption have also been provided for import of ventilators (capable of functioning as high-flow devices) with nasal canula; compressors, including all accessories and tubing; humidifiers and viral filters; high flow nasal canula device with all attachments; helmets for use with non-invasive ventilation; non-invasive ventilation oronasal masks for ICU ventilators; and non-invasive ventilation nasal masks for ICU ventilators.