As India gasps for oxygen supplies, hospitals raise everyday demands and courts intervene to ensure a steady flow, government data reveals that the country's oxygen exports doubled in the financial year 2020-2021 as compared to the preceding year.

From January 2020 to April 2021,  9294 metric tonnes of oxygen were exported by India. In comparison, 4502 metric tonnes were exported in the financial year 2020, reports  citing Commerce ministry data. This was in the form of liquid oxygen, which can be later used for both industrial and medical use.

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Maximum exports were to neighbouring Bangladesh. It received 8,828 MT of oxygen. Exports to the country had fallen to 3189 MT a year in 2019-20, but after that the demand spiralled as the pandemic hit the world.

According to the report, as oxygen exports from India reached a 3-year high in just the first nine months of FY21, the government has now decided to float a tender for importing 50,000 MT of medical Oxygen from abroad.

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As the deadly, fast-spreading  second wave of coronavirus hit India, the country was left struggling for oxygen. State after state has raised red flags about the shortages as numbers of daily cases continued to spike. India on Tuesday recorded 295,041 new COVID19 cases and 2,023 deaths. India has overtaken Brazil and the US in the number of daily infections.

In his address to the nation on Tuesday, PM Modi allayed fears, saying that the Centre Was trying its best to ramp up supplies of oxygen and key medicines.