COVID-19: Hand Sanitisers, Face Masks No More Under Essential Commodities Act

Face masks and hand sanitisers were declared as essential commodities for 100 days on March 13 by the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry.

The Department of Consumer Affairs, under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, has removed face masks and hand sanitisers from the Essential Commodities Act 1955. The decision has been taken as their supply is sufficient in the country and, therefore, are now kept out of the purview of the Essential Commodities Act, said Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan.

Face masks and hand sanitisers were declared as essential commodities for 100 days on March 13 by the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry. It was done to boost supply and prevent hoarding of these items in its fight to check the spread of coronavirus.

“These two products were declared as essential items till June 30. We are not extending further as there is enough supply in the country,” Nandan said. A decision in this regard was taken after consultation with the state governments, she said.

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“We have checked with all states and got information from them that there is sufficient supply of these two items. There is no supply concern,” she added. Masks (2-ply and 3-ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitisers were brought under the Essential Commodities Act, empowering states to regulate production, distribution and prices of these items and also crackdown on hoarding and blackmarketing.

Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 tally raced past the seven lakh-mark with 22,252 fresh infections on Tuesday, five days after crossing the six lakh post, while the death toll climbed to 20,160 as 467 more people succumbed to the disease, according to the Union health ministry.

With this, the country has recorded over 20,000 cases of the infection for the fifth consecutive day. India’s coronavirus infection caseload stands at 7,19,665, the ministry’s data updated at 8 am showed.

With a steady rise, the number of recoveries stands at 4,39,947, while there are 2,59,557 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country.

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