The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stated on Monday that India has significantly ramped up production of personal protective equipment (PPE) coveralls and N95 masks. The ministry said that the country now produces over 3 lakh PPEs and N95 masks every day. "India has significantly ramped up its domestic production capacity of PPEs and N95 masks, and the requirements of the states/UTs are being sufficiently met. Today, the country is producing more than 3 lakh PPEs and N95 masks per day. States/UTs as well as central institutions have been provided with around 111.08 lakh N-95 masks and around 74.48 lakh Personal Protective Equipment," said the ministry in a statement.
The ministry also addressed concerns over the quality of PPE coveralls being provided. The MoHFA said media reports expressed concern about the quality of PPEs but the ones under question have "no relevance to the procurement made by the central government". It added that HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), procuring the agency of the MoHFW tests the products before receiving. One of the eight labs nominated by the Ministry of Textiles (MoT) tests the PPE coveralls before they are procured, said the ministry. "It is only after their products qualify in the test prescribed by the technical committee (JMG) of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, that they are procured," it said.
HLL also undertakes random sampling of the supplies. If the samples do not meet the criteria then the company is disqualified for future supplies, said the ministry. The Health Ministry also said that all states and UTs undertake prescribed testing for PPEs from MoT-prescribed labs.
Manufacturers that have their products approved are also being onboarded on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) to ensure that states can procure PPEs swiftly and as per requirement.
While the ministry's statement said that over 3 lakh PPEs and N95 masks are made daily, Textiles and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani had said that India crossed per day production of 4.5 lakh PPEs. "PPE Update as on 18 th May - today we have crossed per day production of 4.5 lac PPE suits... India now has over 600 companies who are lab certified to manufacture PPE," she had tweeted.
PPE Update as on 18 th May — today we have crossed per day production of 4.5 lac PPE suits .. India now has over 600 companies who are lab certified to manufacture PPE 🙏— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) May 18, 2020