The Indian government had declared masks, sanitisers and PPE kits as essential items and banned their exports.
PPE kits in India: Soon after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, India had to import personal protective equipment (PPE) kits. But India quickly switched to producing its own kits, so as to reduce its reliance on other nations. On Tuesday, news agency ANI quoted Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari as saying that around two months ago, the Centre had decided that it would import PPE kits from China. However, now, India is producing its own PPE kits, and the indigenous production has exceeded the domestic demand, creating a surplus, he said. As a result, India is now in a position to export PPE kits, he said.
The agency further quoted him as saying that he would be writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to the Union Commerce Ministry and seek their permission to export PPE kits, sanitisers, and masks, all of which are essential items in the fight against novel coronavirus.
When the country was placed under lockdown in March, several businesses had to halt their operations overnight. However, many of them realised that there was a dearth of PPE kits in the country, with most of the domestic demand being met by imports. Doctors, police personnel, and other frontline helpers needed PPE kits to be able to effectively help people during the pandemic, but the lack of the kits was putting the frontline workers themselves at risk.
Therefore, several of the businesses rapidly started undertaking the production of PPE kits on their own, giving them an opportunity to earn even in the middle of the pandemic, while at the same time reducing the reliance of the Indian government on other countries for such essentials.
The Indian government had also declared masks, sanitisers and PPE kits as essential items and banned exports of these items. This was mainly done since at the beginning of the outbreak, these items were rapidly sold out in the stores and not even the entire population of the country could access them. In such a situation, if the government had allowed these products to be exported, then the domestic demand would most likely not have been met as producers would continue to export their products.
However, now that these items are widely available in the market and most of the citizens seemingly have access to them, it appears that minister Gadkari thinks that this is the right time to open export of these health products, since they might give the Indian economy a much-needed boost, while also encouraging small businesses to continue to undertake such initiatives in the future.