The Centre has been leading the graded, pre-emptive, proactive and collaborative response and management of COVID-19, along with the State/UT governments. As part of its continued efforts towards progressively augmenting and strengthening the medical infrastructure across the country, various policy decisions have been taken on a regular basis.
As the start of the pandemic, there was a global shortage experienced for all kinds of medical equipment including N95 masks, PPE kits, ventilators etc. Most of the products were not being manufactured in the country in the beginning as many of the necessary components were to be procured from other countries. The rising global demand due to the pandemic resulted in their scarce availability in the foreign markets.
Turning the pandemic into an opportunity to develop its domestic market for production of medical equipment, with the combined efforts of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Pharmaceuticals, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and others, India has hugely ramped up its own manufacturing capacity.
In view of the strengthened domestic production capacity and having met the domestic requirements for PPEs, the revised notification of the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in July 2020 (Notification No. 16/2015-20, dated 29th June 2020) permitted export of PPEs. As a result of this relaxation, in the month of July itself, India exported 23 lakh PPEs to five countries. These include USA, UK, UAE, Senegal and Slovania.This has substantially aided India to position itself in the global export market of PPEs.
The “Make in India’ spirit embedded in the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan has resulted in provided resilience and self-sufficiency to the country for various medical equipment including PPEs. While the Union Government is supplying PPEs, N95 masks, ventilators etc., to the State/UT Governments, States are also procuring these items directly. Between March to August 2020, they have procured 1.40 crore indigenous PPEs from their own budgetary resources. During the same period, the Centre has distributed 1.28 cr PPEs to States / UTs / Central Institutions, free of cost.