The government has lifted customs duty and cess on a number of COVID-related supplies being imported into the country for a limited period. This comes amid a raging second wave of COVID-19 that is sweeping across the nation, overwhelming health infrastructure and leading to severe shortages of medicines, hospital beds and oxygen.
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"In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Government has issued notifications exempting basic customs duty and/or health cess on imports of a number of COVID-19 related relief materials, for a limited period," ANI reported quoting Ministry of Finance.
The governement has exempted duty/cess on the import of Remdevisir injections, API and Beta Cyclodextrin (SBEBC) and inflammatory diagnostic (marker) kits till October 31.
It has also exempted the taxes on the import of medical grade oxygen, oxygen therapy-related equipment such as oxygen concentrators, cryogenic transport tanks, etc, and COVID-19 vaccines till July 31.
On Monday, a team of experts, along with an oxygen generation plant and 20 ventilators arrived from Italy to assist in the country's fight against a deadly second wave of the pandemic. A C-130 aircraft of the Indian Air Force landed in Delhi with the equiments and personnel on board.
With the country's healtcare infrastructure under tremendous pressure from the mounting cases, and hospitals across the country facing a dire shortage in vital supplies, a number of countries have pledged their assistance to India.
They include the US, Russia, France, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Luxembourg, Singapore, Portugal, Sweden, New Zealand, among others.