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Opinion

India produced 60 million PPE, 150 million N-95 masks as of October from zero in March: Smriti Irani

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Union textiles minister Smriti Irani said on Friday that India produced more than 60 million personal protective equipment (PPE) and around 150 million N-95 masks as of October, from zero in March.

So far, the country has exported more than 20 million PPE and more than 40 million N-95 masks, he said while speaking at the virtual launch of an Institute for Competitiveness study.

The study chronicles India’s success in moving from relying on imported high-quality PPE equipment to becoming self-sufficient.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi backed industry and government officials who were “adamant” not to dilute international technical standards despite “enormous pressure” on the government.

“The direction we took was that if we want to dilute international standards, we will expose healthcare workers to tragedies,” Irani said.

He also said that in the state of lockdown, 5 lakh of sustainable direct jobs have been secured as part of the PPE revolution and test swabs.

According to the study, in 60 days, India developed an indigenous network of PPE clothing and fabric manufacturers and was able to export PPE kits to other countries in July.

He said the government’s ‘Go Local’ initiative turned the acute shortage crisis into an opportunity to develop an indigenous supply chain for the manufacture of class 3 PPE and test swabs.

The capacity development stage was divided into five groups of activities, each group assigned to a group of officials from the Ministry of Textiles, according to the study.

The Institute for Competitiveness is part of the Microeconomics of Competitiveness, an affiliate network of Harvard Business School.

On January 30 this year, when the first case of coronavirus was reported in India, PPE outfits including full-length coveralls suits for Covid-19 (classified as a Class 3 protection level under ISO 16603) They were not made in India.

While countries began to limit their export of PPE equipment, it was estimated that India would require more than 20 million PPE equipment and 40 million N-95 class masks by July 2020.

“Beating all odds, India developed an indigenous network of PPE garment and fabric manufacturers in just 60 days. As of mid-May, India had the capacity to manufacture 4.5 lakhs of pieces of body coveralls and 2.5 lakhs of N-95 masks per day, ”he said.

Therefore, India also started exporting PPE to the US, UK, Senegal, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates, he added.

The study said that the scale of mask manufacturing has increased at such an exponential rate that by October 60 million PPE were produced, of which 20 million were exported. More than 150 million N-95 masks were also produced, of which 40 million were exported.

Currently, 200 domestic manufacturers produce 32 lakh of N-95 masks per day, making India the world’s largest exporter of masks, he added.

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