For a period of three months, the government has agreed to exclude basic customs duty on COVID-19 vaccines, as well as basic customs duty and health cess on medical grade oxygen and other equipment related to providing oxygen to patients.
"The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," said the government on Saturday.
The meeting was attended by the Finance Minister, Commerce, and Industry Minister, Health Minister, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Member of NITI Aayog, Dr Guleria, and Secretaries of the Departments of Revenue, Health, and DPIIT, as well as other officials.
What is Custom Duty?
When goods are shipped across national boundaries, customs duty is imposed. It is a tax levied by governments on products exported and imported. The government imposed these taxes on the export and import of products and services to raise revenue and to shield domestic businesses from foreign competitors.
The Prime Minister presided over a meeting to assess the progress made in increasing oxygen availability in the country. The Prime Minister stressed the urgent need to increase the availability of medical-grade oxygen as well as the equipment required for patient treatment at home and in hospitals. To increase the availability of oxygen and medical supplies, the PM stressed that all ministries and departments must work together.
It was agreed to grant full exemption from Basic Customs Duty and Health Cess on import of the following products related to Oxygen and Oxygen related equipment for a period of three months with immediate effect in order to increase their production and availability and meet rising demand, the statement said.
"This would increase the supply of these goods as well as make them cheaper," the official statement said.
The Prime Minister directed the Revenue Department to ensure that such equipment is cleared through customs smoothly and quickly.