Centre declares N-95 Masks as essential commodity; prices reduced

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New Delhi: The Centre has declared N-95 Masks as an essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act. Now, hoarding and black-marketing of the commodity is a punishable offence.

The government under National Disaster Management Act, 2005 has directed all States/ UTs to ensure sufficient availability of surgical and protective Masks, Hand Sanitizers, and Gloves at prices not exceeding the Maximum Retail Price printed on the pack.

The Government is striving to ensure an uninterrupted supply of N-95 Masks in adequate quantity in the country. For this, the Government is procuring the largest chunk of the N-95 Masks directly from the manufacturers/ importers/ suppliers at bulk rates.

The NPPA has already intervened to bring down the prices of N-95 masks. It has issued an advisory on May 21 to ensure the availability of N-95 Masks at affordable prices in the country.

The advisory has been issued to all manufacturers/ importers/ suppliers of the N-95 Masks to maintain parity in prices for non-government procurements and to make available the same at reasonable prices.

The NPPA has rubbished media reports appearing in a section of the press that it is approving a price that is more than three times the government procurement rate for the masks.

After issuance of such an advisory, major manufacturers/ importers of N-95 Masks have reduced their prices significantly up to 47% leading to the availability of N-95 Masks in the country at affordable prices.

The government hoped that other manufacturers/ importers will follow the advice and reduce the prices in the larger public interest.

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