The government has decided to exempt coronavirus-related vaccines from basic customs duty. Health cess and basic customs duty to be waived off for oxygen and oxygen-related equipment, the Ministry of Finance said on Saturday. The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country.
PM Modi said that there is an immediate need to increase the supply of medical grade oxygen as well as equipment required for patient care both at home and at hospitals. The PM urged ministries and departments to work in synergy to this end.
It was decided in the meeting that import of equipment related to providing oxygen to patients need to be expedited. In order to do so, the government decided to fully exempt oxygen and oxygen related equipment from basic customs duty and health cess for a period of three months.
The items that would be impacted by this are as follows:
- Medical grade oxygen
- 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 canister
- 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 of the above to be used for the manufacture of equipment for production, transportation, distribution or storage of oxygen
- Any other device from which oxygen can be generated
- Ventilators (capable of functioning as high-flow devices) with nasal cannula; compressors including all accessories and tubing; humidifiers and viral filters
- High flow nasal cannula device with all attachments
- Helmets for use with non-invasive ventilation
- Non-invasive ventilation oronasal masks for ICU ventilators
- Non-invasive ventilation nasal masks for ICU ventilators
Moreover, the government also decided to exempt coronavirus vaccines from basic customs duty for a period of three months with immediate effect.
Removal of duty and cess would make these items cheaper and will boost availability. The PM asked the Revenue Department to ensure seamless and quick customs clearance of such items.