20:01 GMT24 June 2021
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    As India battles the second wave of the deadly coronavirus, several countries including Russia, the UK, the US, Australia, Saudi Arabia and others have come forward to help and have been sending oxygen cylinders, concentrators, Covid-related medicines such as Remdesivir and other supplies.

    To strengthen the health infrastructure of West Bengal, state Chief Mamata Banerjee on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to exempt taxes and customs duties on the sale and import of medical equipment and COVID-19 related drugs.

    In a letter, Mamata shared that several organisations and individuals, who have been donating oxygen concentrators, cylinders, and COVID-related drugs, have reached out to her with a request to exempt all the taxes and import custom duty on the medical essentials. By doing so, Mamata said that it will greatly benefit in procuring the supply of the aid and help the state government in meeting the huge gap between supply and demand. 

    "As the rate structure falls under the purview of the central government, I would request that these items may be exempted from the Goods and Services Tax (GST)/ customs duty and other such duties and taxes to help remove supply constraints of the above-mentioned life-saving drugs and equipment and contribute towards effective management of the COVID pandemic," Banerjee wrote in the letter.


    On Friday, Mamata had made an appeal to PM Modi, urging the nation's central government to supply additional medical oxygen amid rising demand in the state due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

    "Considering the critical situation, I would request you to kindly have the allocation of MO reviewed and instruction issued for an immediate allocation of at least 550 MT per day of Medical Oxygen(MO) preferably out of the total produced MO in West Bengal," she wrote in her letter.

    Mamata Banerjee has been attacking the government for "failing" to control the spread of the disease in the country.

    India has recorded 403,738 new COVID-19 cases in a day (9 May), which has pushed the tally to 22,296,414, according to the Health Ministry.



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