COVID-19: Govt exempts customs duty, cess on ventilators, surgical masks, and test kits

Covid 19 test kit

Amidst rising cases of COVID-19, the Government has decided to exempt 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.

The Government order also states that input materials required for making these products will also be exempted if that would be imported. The exemption on all these products will be valid till September 30.

“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,” a government statement was quoted as saying by a ETreport.

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.

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