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Covid-19: Customs Duty of 5% and Health Cess of 7.5% on Select Medical Equipment Gone Waiver of customs duty and health cess applies to ventilators, masks, testing kits and PPEs and will be valid till 30 September

By Shipra Singh

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In view of the Covid-19 crisis, the government on Thursday announced exemption on Basic Customs Duty (BDS) and health cess on import of selected medical equipments.

Imports of Personal protect equipment (PPE), surgical masks, Covid-19 test kits, face masks and ventilators have been granted exemption, with immediate effect. "This basic customs duty exemption shall be available up to 30 September, 2020," the Ministry of Finance stated.

India imports about 80 per cent of its medical device requirement. Currently, health cess on medical equipment is 5 per cent and the customs duty is 7.5 per cent. Health cess is over and above the customs duty.

Removal of health cess will not only make procuring medical devices cheaper for institutes but also decrease the cost of treatment for patients as medical devices will become cheaper, experts believe. However, transmission of rates may not be that smoother to reflect in cheaper cost of treatment for consumers. Industry experts had for long been asking the government on removal of health cess to bring down cost of healthcare in the country.

It should be noted that health cess and customs has only been waived on equipments urgently needed in the fight against covid-19. Healthcare professionals in India are working on the frontline without adequate protective gear and ventilators required for critical cases, as per several news reports.

The increasing number of coronavirus affected cases and deaths in India has resulted in a pressing need for adequate medical equipments. This move will remove hurdles in import of such equipments.

Shipra Singh

Entrepreneur Staff

Freelance Journalist

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