At the start of the lockdown, there was an increasing concern over India’s lack of PPEs with certain “health and science journalists” running a propaganda campaign against the government as the slammed the government for not providing the doctors and the medical staff with enough PPEs. In the past few weeks, those calls have now reduced as India from importing thousands of PPEs has now gone on to producing more than 2 Lakh PPE kits per day, thanks to the sustained efforts of Smriti Irani-led Ministry of Textiles, Health, Defence and Aviation who collaborated with the private sector to make India self-reliant.
When the pandemic began to spread its deadly wings in India, there was concern over the protection of the doctors as India didn’t produce a single PPE kit and entirely relied on imports. In January, India had around 2.75 law PPEs which were all imported. In February, India imported 52,000 PPEs but the kits were not up to the required quality as China exported faulty PPE kits.
At this exact juncture, the Central government wasted no time and through the Make in India initiative, encouraged indigenous manufacturing of the PPE kits. The efforts of the private sector and the government finally bore fruit as in May, India produced a whopping 2.06 lakh PPE kits taking the average manufacturing capacity to 1.5 lakh PPE kits per day.
“It is very comforting to us that our in-house PPE production is increasing very fast. On May 2, the country recorded the maximum production of protective gears of about 2.06 lakh manufactured in a single day. Earlier, there was no domestic manufacturing of PPE kit in the country and almost all of them were imported. Within a short span of time, India has been able to increase the daily production of PPE kits to about 1.5 lakh,” said a senior Health Ministry official.
However, this wasn’t achieved overnight. At a time when the opposition and their lackeys were criticising Textile Minister Smriti Irani for attempting to uplift the moods of the people by playing ‘Antakshari’ on Twitter, she tweeted on March 29, through the National Technical Textiles Mission, the government has facilitated the R&D and testing of PPE and hence, in less than a month’s time 14 manufacturers have cleared rigorous technical testing & started the production of indigenous PPEs for our doctors & paramedical staff.
Indian Textiles Inc. rises to the situation & shows its fortitude!
After receiving WHO guidelines on PPE, in less than a month’s time 14 manufacturers cleared rigorous technical testing & started mfg indigenous PPEs for our doctors & paramedical staff. https://t.co/BdmSgO0uvQ
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) March 29, 2020
A month later, India has now 52 domestic manufacturers of the PPE kits with more in the pipeline as the government has identified 110 domestic manufacturers to produce the PPE kits.
India is now preparing for the upcoming months as the government has projected that the demand for PPE kits will grow to 2.01 crore by June and hence, has already placed orders of 2.22 crore PPE kits with 1.42 crore being produced domestically while importing the rest 80 lakh PPE kits. At present, the Union government has distributed approximately 21.32 lakh PPE kits to the government-run hospitals with around 15.96 lakh PPE kits kept as a Centre-State buffer stock.
The sustained efforts have made India the second-biggest producer of the PPE kits in the world and what’s better is the fact that the moment India is able to meet its domestic demand, it will start exporting domestically manufactured PPE kits to the countries in need.
How @smritiirani led from the front to push up the production of PPE by roping in the textile industry. Today #India is world's second largest producer of quality PPE. If we persist with this determination, we can force a change in global supply lines in post-#Covid19 world. https://t.co/zlO5tYF36A
— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) May 7, 2020
Historically, India has a tremendous textile capabilities which have severely gone down in the past couple of decades as the Pakistan and Bangladesh have now emerged as the new textile hubs of the world. Textile Ministry desperately needed someone to bring back life to it and tap its potential of our textile industry and Smriti Irani is the perfect candidate to harness its potential. Smriti Irani as Textile Minister has proved highly efficient and instrumental during the time of a pandemic and this is commendable.