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Government eases procurement norms, bank guarantees for oxygen, Covid-19 supplies


To expedite procurement of critical Covid-19 supplies, the government on Monday relaxed the General Financial Rules (GFR) and removed all restrictive provisions to enable larger participation and faster procurement. Bank Guarantees have been waived off for all procurement.

Relaxing tendering norms, the government has allowed global tenders to be floated for less than Rs 200 crore as well. 100% payment of advance has been approved for critical Covid procurement. Procurement on nomination basis has been permitted in case of constrained supply market.

The commerce and industry said in a statement that oxygen production has increased to 9,446 metric tonne (MT) per day in May 2021 from 5,700 MT daily in August 2020 and the production capacity has increased to 7,314 MT per day, and capacity utilization has gone up from 84% to 129% during this period.

“There is a mismatch between producing and consuming states, and equity among states to be maintained. Moreover, one-third of the production is concentrated in East India, while the 60% of demand for oxygen is in North and South India, resulting in transportation challenges,” it said, adding that oxygen allocation was based on its requirement, number of active cases, and availability of hospital infrastructure including ICU beds.

As per the statement, the Total Liquid Medical Oxygen Production by steel plants was 3,680.30 MT on May 4.

Besides, additional capacity expansion is planned in the near future to enhance oxygen production capacity through oxygen from power plants, refineries and steel plants.

The government said that 50,000 MT of Liquid Oxygen is being imported with orders and delivery schedule for 5,800 MT finalized and 2,285 MT of LMO being imported from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and France, a part of which has already arrived.

Concentrators, tankers

India has also sanctioned the procurement of 1 lakh Oxygen Concentrators under PM Cares Fund on April 27 of which offers for 50,000 concentrators have been received from domestic manufacturers. Award for 9,800 units have been finalized with a delivery schedule of 4,800 units on May 15 and 5,000 units on May 27.

“In addition, 55 bidders have expressed interest to supply 70,000 – 75,000 units of concentrators,” the ministry said.

The capacity of oxygen tankers is now 23,056 MT and their number has increased to 1681, which includes 408 converted tankers and 101 imported tankers. 248 oxygen tankers are being imported, with 101 tankers imported so far and another 58 tankers to be imported in the next 10 days while 100 tankers are being manufactured domestically.

There are 901 cryogenic tanks for storing oxygen at hospitals and 11.19 lakh medical oxygen cylinders, and additional 3.35 lakh cylinders are being procured.

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