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Govt lifts ban on export of all ventilators as domestic manufacturers pump up production

The ban was imposed on March 24 to ensure domestic availability to fight COVID-19 pandemic. The health ministry has said that out of the total 60,000 ventilators the Union government has ordered, the share of Made in India ventilators is 96% by volume and 90% by value, according to the Union health ministry on Tuesday.

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Govt lifts ban on export of all ventilators as domestic manufacturers pump up production
Representational image: Ventilator
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The government on Tuesday lifted the ban on exports of ventilators, over four months after it came into effect to ensure the domestic supply amid rising coronavirus threat. 

"All ventilators including any artificial respiratory apparatus or oxygen therapy apparatus or any other breathing appliance/device are made free for export," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.

The ban was imposed on March 24 to ensure domestic availability to fight COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier on August 1, the group of ministers on COVID-19 agreed to the proposal of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to allow the export of made-in-India ventilators.

Presently, there are more than 20 domestic manufacturers for ventilators. 

At a media briefing on Tuesday, the health ministry said that out of the total 60,000 ventilators the Union government has ordered, the share of Made in India ventilators is 96% by volume and 90% by value, according to the Union health ministry on Tuesday.

Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health said Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Andhra Med-Tech Zone (AMTZ) played a major role in producing the Make in India ventilators.

"I would like to share the saga of how Indian domestic industry and Indian innovators along with the Indian government created a new industry--homegrown basic ICU ventilators. Out of the total 60,000 ventilators the Union government has ordered, the share of Make in India ventilators is 96 per cent by volume and 90 per cent by value," he said.

"In 2019, the Indian ventilator market was roughly estimated as 8,510 units valued at Rs 444.74 crore. Because of COVID-19, in March domestic manufacturers imported various components like sensors, pressure transducer, control valves, turbines. It wouldn`t have been possible to make ventilators without import then," he added.

Bhushan said out of 60,000 ventilators, 50,000 are being funded from PMCaresFund with a monetary value of about Rs 2,000 crore. In less than two months more than 18,000 ventilators have been supplied to states/ UTs/ Central Govt. Hospitals/ DRDO facility, he said.

Bhushan said that initially ventilators were not regulated medical devices in the country and neither they were under Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification.

"Later technical experts under Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) prescribed Minimum Essential Specifications for basic ICU ventilators to be procured for COVID-19 purposes," he said. 

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