The PM has directed the revenue department to ensure seamless, quick custom clearance to essentials needed to deal with the situation

Amid a massive shortage of oxygen across the country, the center 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.

This was decided during a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country.

The government further decided that customs duty on import of Covid-19 vaccines will also be exempted for the same time period.

During the meet, PM Modi emphasized on the 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 Prime Minister also directed the revenue department to ensure seamless and quick custom clearance of such equipment.

Further, he was briefed that basic customs duty was exempted on Remdesivir and its API recently. It was suggested that import of equipment 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 said.

The oxygen and oxygen related equipment include medical grade oxygen, oxygen concentrator along with flow meter, regulator, connectors and tubing, oxygen canister, oxygen filling systems, oxygen storage tanks, oxygen cylinders including cryogenic cylinders and tanks etc.

"This will boost availability of these items as well as make them cheaper,” the statement read.