Home / News / India /  India produced 60 mn PPEs, 150 mn N-95 masks till Oct from zero in March, says Irani

Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani has said that the country produced more than 60 million personal protection equipment (PPEs) and almost 150 million N-95 masks till October, from zero in March this year.

So far, India has also exported more than 20 million PPE and over 40 million N-95 masks, the Union Textiles Minister said while speaking at the virtual launch of a study by the Institute for Competitiveness.

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The study chronicles India's success in going from being import-dependent for high-quality PPE kits to becoming self-sufficient.

Irani said PM Modi backed the industry and government officials who were "adamant" on not diluting international technical standards despite "huge pressure" on the Centre.

"The direction that we took was that if we are to dilute international standards, we expose health workers to tragedies," news agency PTI quoted Irani as saying.

She also said that in the state of lockdown, 5 lakh sustainable direct jobs have been ensured as part of the PPE and testing swab revolution.

Irani's comments come as the country on Friday reported 29,398 new coronavirus infections, taking India's tally to 97,96,770.

As per the study, in 60 days, the country developed an indigenous network of PPE fabric and garment manufacturers and by July, it was able to export PPE kits to other nations.

It said the government's 'Go Local' initiative turned the crisis of acute shortage into an opportunity to develop an indigenous supply chain for manufacturing Class-3 PPEs and testing swabs.

The capacity building stage was dividing into five sets of activities, with each set assigned to a group of officers from the textiles ministry, 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 coronavirus case was reported in India, PPE kits including full-body coveralls suits for COVID-19 (classified as Class-3 protection level under ISO 16603 Standard) were not manufactured in India.

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

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

So, India also began exporting PPEs to the US, the UK, Senegal, Slovenia, and UAE, it added.

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

At present, 200 domestic manufacturers produce 32 lakh N-95 masks every day, making India the largest exporter of masks to the world, it added.

With agency inputs

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