Ministry of Finance:
The Prime Minister chaired a meeting to review steps taken to boost oxygen availability in the country.
The PM emphasized that there was an immediate need to augment the supply of medical grade oxygen as well as equipment required for patient care both at home and in hospitals.
PM stressed that all ministries and departments need to work in synergy to increase availability of oxygen and medical supplies.
PM was briefed that basic customs duty was exempted on Remdesivir and its API recently. It was suggested that import of equipments related to providing oxygen to patients needs to be expedited.
In order to augment their production and availability and to meet the rising demand, it was decided to grant full exemption from Basic Customs Duty and health cess on import of the following items related to Oxygen and Oxygen related equipment for a period of three months with immediate effect:
Medical grade Oxygen
Oxygen concentrator along with flow meter, regulator, connectors and tubing
Vacuum Pressure Swing Absorption (VPSA) and Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen plants, Cryogenic Oxygen Air Separation Units (ASUs) producing liquid/ gaseous oxygen
Oxygen Filling Systems
Oxygen Storage tanks, Oxygen cylinders including cryogenic cylinders and tanks
ISO Containers for Shipping Oxygen
Cryogenic Road transport tanks for Oxygen
Parts of the above to be used for the manufacture of equipment for production, transportation, distribution or storage of Oxygen
Any other device from which Oxygen can be generated
Ventilators (capable of functioning as high-flow devices) with nasal canula; Compressors including all accessories and tubing; humidifiers and Viral filters
High flow nasal canula device with all attachments
Helmets for use with non-invasive ventilation
Non-invasive ventilation oronasal masks for ICU ventilators
Non-invasive ventilation nasal masks for ICU ventilators
Apart from the above, it was also decided that Basic Customs Duty on import of Covid vaccines be also exempted with immediate effect for a period of 3 months.
This will boost availability of these items as well as make them cheaper.
The PM directed the Revenue Department to ensure seamless and quick custom clearance of such equipment. Accordingly, the Department of Revenue has nominated Shri Gaurav Masaldan, Joint Secretary, Customs, as the nodal officer for issues related to customs clearance for the above-mentioned items.
The Government of India has taken a lot of measures in the last few days to improve supply of oxygen and medical supplies.
IAF planes are bringing in cryogenic oxygen tanks from Singapore. IAF is also transporting oxygen tanks in the country to reduce travel times.
Similarly, in a major decision yesterday, free food grains will be given to 80 crore Indians for the month of May & June 2021.
Finance Minister, Commerce and Industry Minister, Health Minister, Principal Secretary to the PM, Member NITI Aayog, Dr Guleria and Secretaries of the department of Revenue, Health and DPIIT & other officials participated in the meeting.
Ministry of Panchayati Raj:
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi launched the distribution of e-property cards under the SWAMITVA scheme today on National Panchayati Raj Day through video conferencing.
4.09 lakh property owners were given their e-property cards on this occasion, which also marked the rolling out of the SVAMITVA scheme for implementation across the country.
Union Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar attended the event. Chief Ministers and Panchayati Raj Ministers of the concerned states were also present.
The Prime Minister said that Panchayati Raj Day is an occasion to rededicate ourselves to the pledge of redevelopment of rural India. This is a day to acknowledge and appreciate the extraordinary work of our Gram Panchayats, he said.
Prime Minister appreciated the role of Panchayats in management of Corona and providing local leadership to stop Corona from entering the villages and spreading awareness. He reiterated the need to keep the pandemic out of rural India.
Shri Modi asked the Panchayats to ensure complete implementation of guidelines that are being issued from time to time.
He reminded that this time we have shield of vaccine. We have to ensure that every person in the village is vaccinated and every precaution is taken, he added.
The Prime Minister stressed that it is our responsibility that in these difficult times, no family should go hungry.
He informed under Pradhanmantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna every poor person will get free ration in the months of May and June.
The Scheme will benefit 80 crore beneficiaries and centre is spending more than 26,000 crore on this scheme.
The Prime Minister noted the impact of Swamitva Yojna in the 6 states where it was launched within just one year. Under the scheme, the entire village properties are surveyed by drone and property card are distributed to the owners. Today 4.09 lakh people were given such e- property cards in more than 5 thousand villages.
The Scheme has infused a new confidence in the villages as property documents remove uncertainty and reduce the chances of property disputes while protecting the poor from exploitation and corruption. This eases credit possibility also.
“In a way, this scheme will ensure security of the poor section and planned development of villages and their economy”, said the Prime Minister. He requested the States to sign MoU with Survey of India and change state laws wherever needed. He asked banks to ensure easy credit by preparing a format of property card that is easily acceptable for loan formalities.
The Prime Minister reiterated that progress and cultural leadership has always been with our villages. For this reason, Centre is keeping villages at the centre of all its policies and initiatives. “Our effort is that villages of modern India should be capable and self-reliant”, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister enumerated the steps for increasing the role of the Panchayats. The Panchayats are getting new rights, they are being connected by fiber-net. Their role in Jal Jeevan Mission to provide drinking water by tap to every household is very critical.
P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:
- We welcomed the decision to vaccinate all above the age of 18 years. However, we have to caution the government that this decision brings with it huge responsibilities.
- The first and foremost requirement is the availability of vaccines. There are widespread complaints about the lack of supply of vaccines.
- The government’s claim that there is no shortage of vaccines is hollow and untrue.
- When the surge in demand happens on May 1 and more people flock to hospitals for vaccination, will there be adequate stocks of vaccines all over the country?
- If people are turned away at hospitals, there will be great resentment and protests.
- The time to plan for May 1 started many weeks ago. Is the government prepared for May 1? I am sceptical.
- Nevertheless, I urge the government to start preparing NOW in order to meet the much greater demand for vaccines on and after May 1
Ministry of Railways:
Indian Railway is running Oxygen Express in response to its fight against Covid-19.
Oxygen Expresses with Liquid Medical Oxygen(LMO) tankers have arrived at Nashik & at Lucknow for Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh respectively.
Few Containers were also unloaded at Nagpur and Varanasi enroute to supply LMO in these region. Also, third Oxygen Express started its journey from Lucknow this morning.
States like Andhra Pradesh, Delhi are in consultation with Railways to run more such trains.
It may be noted that tankers filled with LMO at Visakhapatnam & Bokaro are presently being transported through Ro-Ro service of Indian Railways.
To fulfil the requirements of Medical Oxygen in Uttar Pradesh, for the movement of the train, a green corridor was created between Lucknow to Varanasi. The distance of 270 Km was covered by the train in 4 hours 20 minutes with an average speed of 62.35 kmph.
A total of 10 containers having nearly 150 tonnes of Oxygen have been carried so far.
Transportation of Oxygen through Trains is faster over long distances than road transport. Trains run 24×7 unlike road transports.
Indian Railways transported essential commodities and kept the supply chain intact even during the lockdown last year and continue to serve the Nation in times of emergencies.
Pinarayi Vijayan – Chief Minister, Kerala :
- Our own volition, not external pressure should keep us determined to not get infected and to not infect others.
- It is essential to secure the lives and livelihoods of our loved ones.
- Social Distancing, Mask, Sanitising + Avoid Crowding, Closed Spaces, Close Contacts, IS A MUST.
- Private hospitals have extended complete cooperation in this battle.
- They’ve agreed to earmark 25% of beds for COVID19 patients, provide daily occupancy updates to DMO, make services of healthcare workers available in emergencies, stick to Govt. rates. Thank you.
I thank PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah & Union Minister DV Sadanand Gowda for increasing Karnataka’s allocation of Remdesivir from 50,000 to 1,22,000 till Apr 30 & daily oxygen allocation from existing 300 MT to 800 MT as per my request.BS Yediyurappa – CM, karnataka
This will strengthen our fight against Covid19
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray has been assured of maximum support by Mr. Adar Poonawalla and the Serum Institute of India to ensure maximum vaccination at the earliest in the State of Maharashtra.cmo maharashtra
We are proud to have a world-class institution like Serum Institute of India in our state and we look forward to a strategic partnership for the safety of our citizens from COVID-19.
Excerpts of the letter addressed to the Prime Minister by CPI(M) General Secretary:
Dear Pradhan Mantriji,
I am writing to you in great pain, distress and anguish. This unprecedented health and humanitarian crisis created by the second wave of Covid-19, is turning into a tsunami.
The situation has been aggravated by the approach and attitude of the Union Government. This is not the time to go into those details as we mourn the deaths of thousands of our beloved fellow Indians which were very much preventable.
I am writing to you on an URGENT basis to ensure two things on utmost priority:
ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen to all hospitals and patients across the country by procuring it at any cost; and
provide vaccines to all the state governments for a free and universal vaccination programme,
bringing production of Indian vaccines under emergency provisions and importing from all available sources to prevent more deaths.
I understand that there may be financial considerations in taking these decisions.
Immediately, spend the budgetary allocation of Rs. 35,000 crores for the vaccination programme..
Sharing some blessed moments from the Belur Math.Dharmendra Pradhan – Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas
Work as worship, divinity of the soul, and harmony of religions are the ideals on which the Ramakrishna Mission is based.
The Belur Math is a celebration of the diversity, harmony and humanity of India’s religious faiths & traditions.
I am writing to all CMs requesting them to provide oxygen to Delhi, if they have spare.Arvind Kejriwal – CM, Delhi
Though Central govt. is also helping us, the severity of corona is such that all available resources are proving inadequate.
Visited 35 year old Mrityunjoy Santra, our karyakarta, who was injured in police firing in Bagda (West Bengal) day before…Amit Malviya – National In-charge of BJP’s IT Dept.
He had a bullet pierce through his wrist. He has been successfully operated.
He comes from a modest farmer family but is in high spirits.
The Party is standing with him.
To check illegal mining, I have ordered complete ban on mining from 7:30 PM to 5:00 AM.capt amarinder singh – cm, punjab
Also, I have directed DGP Punjab Police & ED Mining to keep a close watch and to take strict action in case of any violations.
Wonderful decision by Telangana CM KCR Garu to vaccinate all age groups in Telangana free of costKTR – Minister, telangana Govt.
People need as much support as possible from their Governments during these testing times
For our viewers and media friends –KC Venugopal – General Secretary, congress
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it will be your resource hub, come and partake it,
for it is meant purely to enrich you – empower you,
so that you know the truth and nothing but truth
Attention Travellers!JT Namgyal – MP, Ladakh
Leh Administration has ordered all incoming passengers from outside Ladakh shall have to undergo mandatory institutional Quarantine till declaration of their results of test at airport if they are travelling without -ve RT-PCR certificate.