Masks, Hand Sanitisers Declared Essential Commodities In India
Hand sanitizer and protective masks are displayed for sale at a pharmacy in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)  

Masks, Hand Sanitisers Declared Essential Commodities In India


The government on Friday declared masks, including the N95 variant, and hand sanitisers as ‘essential commodities’ in the wake of the coronavirus scare leading to shortages and black marketing of these items.

These items will remain under essential commodities segment till June-end, a move aimed at ensuring availability at reasonable prices and cracking down on hoarders or black marketeers.

The government has notified an order under the Essential Commodities Act to declare masks (2 ply and 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitisers as essential commodities up to June 30, 2020.

The decision has empowered the Centre as well states to regulate production, quality, distributions of masks and hand sanitisiers, and also to smoothen sale and availability of these items, and carry out operations against speculators.

Also read: Coronavirus India Updates: Maharashtra Declares Covid-19 As An Epidemic; Total Cases In India At 81

The step has been taken in view of the “ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 and concern of the logistics for COVID-19 management, particularly during last couple of weeks, and that masks and hand sanitisers have been noted to either not available with most of the vendors in the market or are available with difficult difficulty at exorbitant prices,” said the government order.

An offence under the Essential Commodities Act can attract imprisonment up to 7 years.

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