Guwahati, April 24: Government of India today decided to waive off customs duty and health cess on the import of COVID vaccines and oxygen with immediate effect for a period of three months.
The government announced it after a high-level meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the country battles a devastating second wave of infections.
The waiver will include import of equipment related to supplying patients - whether due to COVID or otherwise - with oxygen, such as generators, storage tanks, filling systems and concentrators.
This, the centre said, would "boost availability of these items, as well as make them cheaper".
India currently has two Covid vaccines, both of which are produced domestically. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech makes Covaxin and Pune-based Serum Institute manufactures Covishield.
A third - Russia's Sputnik V - has been cleared and will be made by Hyderabad's Virchow Biotech.
The oxygen crisis - precipitated by an avalanche of infections over the past month - has snowballed over the past 72 hours, with multiple hospitals across India red-flagging fast-depleting stocks.