The Union government has exempted basic customs duty and health cess on a number of medical equipment, including ventilators and face masks, in view of the efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The basic customs duty exemption will be applicable until September 30, 2020.
“In the context of COVID-19 situation, considering the immediate requirement of ventilators and other items, the central government has granted exemption from basic customs duty and health cess, on the import of following goods, with immediate effect: a. Ventilators, b. Facemasks, surgical masks, c. Personal protection equipment d. COVID-19 test kits e. Inputs for manufacture of the above items,” a finance ministry press release stated.
It added: “The basic customs duty exemption shall be available up to September 30, 2020.”
Earlier Thursday, the government approved a COVID-19 emergency package worth Rs 15,000 crore for states. It has been named India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package.
Questions have been raised about India’s preparedness ahead of a possible bracing battle against the coronavirus pandemic that has caused havoc the world over. More than 1.5 million people have been infected globally, while upwards of 90,000 have succumbed to complications arising from the virus.
In India, nearly 6,000 people have been infected while the number of dead in the country number 166.
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