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Govt launches 'Project O2 for India' to increase supply of medical oxygen

A 'National Consortium of Oxygen' is enabling supply of critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up of small oxygen plants, manufacturing compressors, final products.

The second wave of COVID-19 saw an increase in demand for medical oxygen in different parts of the country. The second wave of COVID-19 saw an increase in demand for medical oxygen in different parts of the country.

As the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the Centre has launched 'Project O2 for India' to step up production of medical oxygen to meet the potential increase in demand due to further waves of the pandemic.

'Project O2 for India', an initiative of the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India (GoI), aims to help stakeholders working to augment the country's ability to meet the rise in demand for medical oxygen.

"The second wave of COVID-19 saw an increase in demand for medical oxygen in different parts of the country. While meeting the current demand, manufacturing medical oxygen also became important to ensure we have adequate supply in the future," the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to GoI said in a statement.

Amidst a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases during the second wave, scarcity of medical oxygen was reported from across the states due to the sudden increase in demand.

Under the project, a 'National Consortium of Oxygen' is enabling supply of critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up of small oxygen plants, manufacturing compressors, final products such as oxygen plants, concentrators, and ventilators. Besides, the consortium is also working to strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem for long-term preparedness.

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"A committee of experts has been evaluating critical equipment such as oxygen plants, concentrators, and ventilators from a pool of India-based manufacturers, start-ups, and MSMEs (in partnership with FICCI,MESA, etc.)," the statement said.

The manufacturing and supply consortium also includes Bharat Electronics Ltd, Tata Consulting Engineers, C-CAMP, Bengaluru, IIT Kanpur, IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Hyderabad, IISER, Bhopal, Venture Center, Pune, and more than 40 MSMEs.

The consortium has started to secure CSR/philanthropic grants from organizations like USAID, Edwards Life sciences Foundation, Climate Works Foundation, among others, the statement added.

Besides, Hope Foundation, American Indian Foundation, Walmart, Hitachi, BNP Paribas, and eInfoChips are procuring oxygen concentrators and Vaccum Pressure Swing Adsorption (VPSA)/ Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants as part of their CSR efforts to aid the consortium's work.

"NMDC Ltd has agreed to fund the procurement of raw materials like zeolite for the manufacturers in the consortium," it said.

India reported 80,834 fresh COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the lowest after 71 days, while daily positivity rate dropped further to 4.25 per cent. The death toll due to infection climbed to 3,70,384 with 3,303 daily deaths, as of Sunday morning.

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