The government has relaxed norms of having in-house testing for three kinds of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) to promote the supply of quality gears during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to an official order. The norms have been relaxed for filter half masks, surgical face masks and eye protectors by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Earlier, license to manufacture these products was given to those having in-house testing facilities.
This norm has been relaxed and manufacturers are now required to test the samples for specified requirements in labs of BIS licensees who have in-house testing facilities, or in BIS recognised or empanelled private or government labs, it added. "This has been done to enable more manufacturers to be brought in the ambit of BIS product certification scheme, which will in turn result in greater quantity of BIS certified PPEs being made available to the users," the BIS said.
BIS is a national standards body that functions under the Consumer Affairs Ministry. It has framed more than 25,000 quality standards for different products/services. Based on the data obtained from 81 mask manufacturers, BIS said it has been found that their current installed annual 2ply/3 ply surgical masks production capacities are 295 crore.
Currently, masks and hand sanitizers have been declared as essential items till June. Its prices are fixed by the government.