New Delhi, March 1 -- In the pandemic year, India's use of medical oxygen rose fourfold from 700 tonnes (MT) a day in February, to 3,000 MT in September, when Covid-19 cases peaked. How did India cope with the demand and yet escape the kind of shortages experienced by countries such as Mexico?

The answer: A combination of cutting through bureaucratic red tape to change the rules and synergy between the government and private companies that provided a steady supply of supplemental oxygen across the country, according to stakeholders HT spoke to.

"What if 1 crore people fall sick across the country and need oxygen? How are we prepared? That's one of the first things the government asked us,'' recalls Saket Tikoo a member of the oxygen mon...