New Delhi: Amidst a steep surge in COVID-19 infections in India and a massive Oxygen crisis, the government has decided to waive off customs duty on COVID vaccine, medical oxygen and oxygen equipment on Saturday and has also notified the decision in the gazette. The decision comes close on the heels of a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday for reviewing the steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 25 of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), read with section 141 of Finance Act, 2020 (12 of 2020), the Central Government, on being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest so to do, hereby exempts the goods of the description specified in column (3) of the Table below, falling within the Chapter, heading, sub–heading or tariff item of the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (51 of 1975) specified in column (2) of the said Table, when imported into India, from the whole of the duty of customs leviable thereon under the said First Schedule and the whole of health cess leviable thereon under section 141 of the said Finance Act…," said the notification published by the Centre in the gazette.
Customs duty has been waived off for a total of 18 items and the list includes, Oxygen concentrator, including flow meter, regulator, connectors and tubings, Medical Oxygen, Vacuum Pressure Swing Absorption (VPSA) and Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen plants, Cryogenic oxygen Air Separation Units (ASUs) producing liquid/gaseous oxygen, Oxygen canister, Oxygen filling systems, Oxygen storage tanks, Oxygen generator, ISO containers for Shipping Oxygen, Cryogenic road transport tanks for Oxygen, Oxygen cylinders, parts of goods used in the manufacture of equipment related to the production, transportation, distribution or storage of Oxygen and any other device from which oxygen can be generated.
In addition, the government has also waived off customs duty on ventilators, high flow nasal canula device, helmets for use with non-invasive ventilation, non-invasive ventilation oronasal masks for ICU ventilators, non-invasive ventilation nasal masks for ICU ventilators and COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a total of 3,46,786 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours. Ten states, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan have reported 74.15 percent of the new cases. Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 66,836. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 36,605, while Kerala has reported 28,447 new cases. India's total active caseload has reached 25,52,940, said the ministry.
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