Feb 27, 2022

Supreme Court issues guidelines about oxygen supply

The Supreme Court has issued guidelines to the government about oxygen supply. The Court ordered that: 


  • While Central and State governments are managing oxygen supply, they should also create buffer emergency stocks of oxygen. If the supply chain to any hospital is disrupted, they can use the emergency stocks to avoid losing human lives. 


  • The Central government must create  the buffer emergency stocks of oxygen by this week, and ensure continuous oxygen supply in all circumstances. For this, it must collaborate with State governments through a full-time virtual control room.


  • The government should distribute emergency stocks in a way that makes them easily accessible in every local area. It should decentralise the availability of emergency stocks. 


  • The government should monitor the emergency stocks on a real time basis through the virtual control room, and continuously refill the stock. It should actively consult each State/Union Territory throughout this process. 


The Court also suggested that:


  • The government can establish a mechanism for displaying real time updates of oxygen supply from each State to hospitals in each district along with the remaining stock of oxygen with the hospitals, and share this with citizens to ensure transparency. 


  • The government should clarify the steps they are taking to plan the use of oxygen concentrators, and how they will increase the production/import of these concentrators.


  • The government should review any restrictions on the inter-State travel of trucks or tankers carrying oxygen/other medical aid equipment (such as GST related issues, documentation). The Central government can consider implementing a system to track and map the supply tankers for better management of resources, and allow diversion of resources from one State to another in case of emergencies.