On March 13, the Union Customer Affairs Ministry of India declared hand sanitizers and face masks as the essential commodities for the next 100 days in India. This happened due to the sudden shortage and necessity of these hygiene items in the market. Another reason to mark it under the essential commodities was to tenfold the supply and sales of these items to remain capable enough to fight back the coronavirus outbreak.
On Tuesday, the Secretary of Customer Affairs, Leena Nandan, stated- “These two products were declared as essential items till June 30. We are not extending further as there is enough supply in the country,” Source: Economic Times
Further, she added- “We have checked with all states and got information from them that there is sufficient supply of these two items. There is no supply concern,” Source: Economic Times
Nandan said that these decisions have been taken and announced after having received a nod from the state government.
In India’s initial stage of lockdown (beginning from March 22), there was a paucity of masks (3-ply, 2-ply surgical masks, and N95 masks) and hand sanitizers, which compelled the governmental bodies to take these items under Essential Commodities Act. This helped states to tenfold the production of hand sanitizers and masks for the public. As a result, the wholesalers and retailers started to sell masks and sanitizers on an unbelievably high amount. However, medical stores stopped this practice soon after people started filing complaints against this sudden rise in these items.
While these essential items were kept under the Essential Commodities Act, the government witnessed and caught many people from the black market and duplicated material-making markets red-handedly in several states.
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Source: Economic Times