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New Delhi, April 24 (IANS): Centre on Saturday exempted basic customs duty on oxygen, oxygen related equipment and vaccines.
The decision comes after the Prime Minister chaired a meeting to review steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country.
In a statement, Ministry of Finance said: "The PM 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."
"PM stressed that all ministries and departments need to work in synergy to increase availability of oxygen and medical supplies."
During the meeting, 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 items related to 'Oxygen and Oxygen related equipment' for a period of three months with immediate effect.
Besides, it was decided that basic customs duty on import of Covid vaccines be exempted with immediate effect for a period of 3 months.
"This will boost availability of these items as well as make them cheaper. The PM directed the 'Revenue Department' to ensure seamless and quick custom clearance of such equipment."
Furthermore, the statement cited that Centre has taken a lot of measures in the last few days to improve supply of oxygen and medical supplies.
"IAF planes are bringing in cryogenic oxygen tanks from Singapore. IAF is also transporting oxygen tanks in the country to reduce travel times."
"Similarly, in a major decision yesterday, free food grains will be given to 80 crore Indians for the month of May and June 2021."