The Union Health Ministry informed on April 15, 2021 that 100 new hospitals will get their own oxygen plants under the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund.
The decision was taken during a meeting of the Empowered Group 2 (EG2) to review the availability of essential medical equipment and oxygen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
•The Health Ministry shared that the Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants manufacture oxygen and will help hospitals become self-sufficient in medical oxygen.
•Around 162 PSA plants sanctioned under PM-Cares are being closely reviewed for early completion of 100 percent of the plants to enhance self-generation of oxygen in hospitals, especially in remote areas.
•The Empowered Group 2 has directed the Ministry to identify 100 hospitals in far-flung locations for the installation of the PSA plants.
India to import 50,000 MT of Medical Oxygen
•The Empowered Group has also decided to float a tender for the import of 50 thousand Metric Tonnes of medical oxygen in the wake of increasing demand for medical oxygen.
•While the Health Ministry has been directed to finalise the tender for the same, the External Affairs Ministry through its missions abroad has been given the task to identify and explore from where oxygen can be imported.
•The Empowered Group 2 has been constantly monitoring the situation of demand and supply of medical oxygen in the country to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen.
•The Health Ministry stated that Medical oxygen is a critical component in the treatment of COVID patients and there has been an increasing demand for it, especially from 12 states including Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Chhattisgarh.
•While in Maharashtra, the demand for medical oxygen is feared to surpass the state’s production capacity, there are few states like Madhya Pradesh that do not have any production capacity to meet their demand for medical oxygen.
Maharashtra CM appeals to centre to allow IAF to airlift Oxygen into the state
•Though almost 1200 tonnes of medical oxygen is being generated every day in Maharashtra, the state has still been facing a shortage of Oxygen.
•The State’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has appealed to the centre to provide them with IAF assistance to airlift medical oxygen from nearby states.
Various government ministries and departments had jointly undertaken a mapping exercise to get clarity and assurance over the supply of oxygen. During the exercise, the sources of medical oxygen and their production capacity were mapped to match the requirement of states. Based on this, an indicative framework has been developed to guide the states on the sources of medical oxygen.