Project O2 for India

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 2, 2022, 9:15

The Government of India launched "Project O2 for India" to increase the production of medical oxygen considering the increase in demand because of COVID-19.

Project O2 Objectives

Project O2 for India, an initiative of the Government of India's (GoI) Chief Scientific Advisory Board, aims to support stakeholders working to improve the country's ability to meet the increasing demand for medical oxygen.

As part of Project O2, the National Oxygen Consortium will enable the supply of important raw materials such as zeolites, the construction of small oxygen plants, the manufacture of compressors, and the final products such as ventilators, and oxygen plants, concentrators, and fans. In addition, the consortium is strengthening the stream of manufacturing for long-term preparation.

Main features of the O2 project

As part of Project O2, a national consortium for oxygen was established and raised by private organizations, including individuals. These funds will be used by the consortium to supply important raw materials. Zeolites, construction of small oxygen systems, manufacture of compressors, fans, etc.

In addition, the consortium is working to strengthen the medical oxygen production ecosystem for long-term preparation. In addition, an expert panel has been set up to evaluate critical devices.

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Impact of the second wave of Covid19

According to a survey by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), business development in India has deteriorated sharply overall. Participants said that the government's main focus needs to be on the fight against COVID 19 cases and that only large-scale vaccination campaigns can separate the Indian economy from another pandemic-related shock.

They also emphasized the need for a separate tax package focused on dealing with the demand side, along with employment-based incentives for employers to avoid unemployment. According to FICCI, the overall Business Confidence Index dropped to 51.5 after reporting a high of 74.2 in a previous survey published in March 2021.

A panel of experts evaluated key equipment such as oxygen systems, concentrators, and ventilators from pools of Indian-based manufacturers, start-ups, and MSMEs (partnerships with FICCI, MESA, etc.). The manufacturing and supply chain includes giant companies like:

  • Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL)
  • Tata Consulting Engineer (TCE)
  • CCAMP, Bangalore
  • IIT Kanpur (IITK)
  • IIT Delhi (IITD)
  • IIT Bombay (IITB)
  • IIT Hyderabad (IITH)
  • IISER, Bhopal
  • Venture Center, Pune; and over 40 other MSMEs

It further added that the income of many households unemployed or lost earners due to COVID 19 is permanently affected because most of the population is affected by the current wave.

The second wave of COVID19 has led to increased demand for medical oxygen in different parts of the country. In addition to meeting current demand, the production of medical oxygen has also become important to ensure adequate supply in the future.

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FAQs on Project O2

Q.1 When did the Government of India launch Project O2?

Project O2 was launched after the second wave of Covid 19, to meet the demand for medical oxygen.

Q.2. Why was Project O2 created?

The second wave of Covid19 began around March 2021 and was more deadly and larger than the first wave. The infectious disease surged at an alarming rate, putting a heavy burden on India's medical resources. There were alarming deaths caused by a serious shortage of ventilators and oxygen and ventilators across the country. To compensate for the shortage, the GOI launched Project O2.

Q.3. What are the Project O2 details?

Project O2 was launched to improve India's ability to accommodate India's oxygen demand and hospital beds, following the catastrophic second wave of Covid19. The production of medical oxygen has become important not only to meet current demand but also to ensure sufficient supply for India in the future.

Q.4. How did the Project O2 consortium secure funds?

The Project O2 consortium has begun securing CSR / charitable grants from organizations such as USAID, Hope Foundation, American Indian Foundation, Edwards Life Sciences Foundation, Climate Works Foundation, Walmart, BNP Paribas Hitachi, and eInfochips are procuring oxygen concentrators and VPSA / PSA equipment as part of their CSR efforts to support the activities of the consortium. NMDC Ltd has supported the procurement of zeolites for consortium manufacturers.

Q.5. When did the situation deteriorate while the need for Project O2 arose?

India is suffering from a crisis as it became the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic during the second wave. There were 18 million cases of coronavirus confirmed and more than 2 lakh deaths that were primarily due to the shortage of oxygen and ventilators. Project O2 came as a saviour wherein the GOI decided to collaborate with MSMEs and enhance the manufacturing of oxygen and other supplies.