Domestic manufacturers of PPE kits are struggling to survive due to low sales and cap on exports.
Even as India becomes the second-largest PPE kit manufacturer in the world by increasing its capacity from zero to two lakh a day, the domestic manufacturers of PPE kits are struggling to survive due to various issues, reported The Indian Express. While the capacity to build PPE kits has been ramped up, quality issues have hampered their sale in the Indian market. Adding to the woes, the manufacturers can not even export all the surplus PPE kits as the government has put a cap of 50 lakh units a month on the exports of PPE kits.
Domestic manufacturers could not compete with the MNCs with deep pockets unless the government reconsidered its decision on zero import duty, stipulated a domestic quota, price benefit in tender, and allowed export of surplus stock, the manufacturers told the paper. Many multinationals companies have also claimed that most domestic manufacturers import raw material to assemble products in the name of ‘Make in India’ but certain quality issues are evident from the low acceptance of Indian test kits even in the private segment. However, the Indian makers of PPE kits blamed the bias on the fascination for foreign products and claimed that Indian kits are made of 80-100 per cent indigenous components”.
India has quickly increased its pace of testing to the 10-million-test landmark but the domestic manufacturers supply only 25-30 per cent of RT-PCR kits used. Though ICMR has validated many Indian manufacturers, it is significantly less to offset the country’s 100 per cent dependence on imported test kits in March. India was manufacturing nearly zero PPE kits until January 2020.
Watch: News with Financial Express July 10, 2020
The country was manufacturing only medical gowns, which was just one of the components of the kit, whereas, no PPE coveralls with seam tapes were manufactured. Around 2.75 lakh kits were available in the country in January 2020, which were mostly imported. It was in May when the country ramped up its production capacity to produce around two lakh kits per day.