India on Friday allowed the import of oxygen concentrators under the ‘gift’ item category, thereby exempting the crucial medical device from customs duty.
Concentrators are used to provide oxygen to ease difficulty in breathing, as they extract concentrated quantities of oxygen from ambient air.
The exponential rise in Covid-19 infections has lifted the demand for this medical equipment.
At present, the country faces a supply crunch in the availability of medical oxygen, thus, making their import essential. Besides, high demand for such equipment has led to rising prices, and the move is seen as an effort to curb the rising cost of this equipment.
“Import of Oxygen concentrators for personal use through post, courier or e-commerce portals has been permitted, where Customs clearance is sought, as ‘gifts’, till July 31, 2021,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said in a statement.
Accordingly, as an item for personal use, oxygen concentrators will be included in the exempted category.
Under the new scheme of things, customs clearance for oxygen concentrators will be sought as gifts.
Furthermore, the Department of Consumer Affairs has eased the conditions for clearances under ‘Legal Metrology’ (Packaging Rules 2011) for imports of medical devices for three months from April 28 onwards, subject to conditions.
In addition, custom duty on import of ‘Inflammatory Diagnostic’ (marker) kits and blood gas reagents, has been exempted till October 31, to supplement testing efforts.