NEW DELHI: The government has exempted imports of Personal protection equipment (PPE), Covid 19 test kits, ventilators, face masks and surgical masks from basic customs duty and Health cess, with immediate effect.
Input materials required for making these products locally, that may have to be imported, have also been exempted from basic customs duty and cess.
“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 these goods, with immediate effect,” the government said in a statement late Thursday evening.
The exemption on all these products will be valid till September 30. India imports about 80% of its medical device requirement.
At present, health cess on medical equipment is 5% over and above the customs duty of 7.5%. The total duty, varies between 11% and 22%, depending on the product, officials said. The protection gear required for medical workers combating the Covid 19 spread at the front end, are in short supply.
While the move may go directly in opposition to Make in India’s extension of making medical devices locally, the government has taken the step to remove hurdles from imports amid the rapid spread of the pandemic.