Basic customs duty and health cess on medical oxygen, equipment launched

The Government of India has granted complete exemption from basic health cess on import of oxygen-related equipment and customs duty for a period of three months.

Background

With the COVID-19 double mutant variant B.1.617 spreading rapidly in the country, the demand for medical oxygen exploded exponentially. In order fulfil this high demand, the Government of India has been taking several steps.

Medical Oxygen Plants

The GoI announced that 162 medical oxygen plants are to be established in public health facilities. Of this, thirty-three has already been established in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka Bihar, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, etc. Another 80 plants are to be installed by May 2021. The cost of establishing these plants have been estimated as Rs 201.58 crores. Of these hundred medical oxygen plants are to be funded by the PM CARES fund.

Import

The GoI has planned to import 50,000 tonnes of Oxygen.

Disaster Management Act

The Union Home Ministry invoked the Disaster Management Act. With the powers of the act, the Home Ministry has directed the states to ensure free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles.

Motor Vehicle Act

The Ministry of Road Transport has exempted the requirement of permit under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 for vehicles transporting oxygen cylinders.

Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force airlifted four cryogenic oxygen tanks from Singapore to meet the immediate needs of oxygen supply in country.

Indian Railways

The Indian Railways launched the Oxygen Express to transport oxygen in the country.

Kerala

In the current high shortage of Oxygen in the country, Kerala is the only oxygen surplus state managing the crisis. The oxygen production of the state is 199 tonnes per day. The COVID care demand of oxygen in the state is 35 tonnes per day. With surplus oxygen, Kerala has been sending oxygen to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Goa.

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