The relaxation announced by the government will help companies freely price, store and market face masks and hand sanitisers, which have been in high demand since the novel coronavirus became a serious threat in the country.
As of now, there is no shortage of sanitisers and face masks in India due to a sharp spike in production of these items. (Photo: Reuters)
Face masks and hand sanitisers will no longer be categorised as essential commodities as per a new order passed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. Both items have been taken out from the list of essential commodities.
According to a report published in Business Today, the relaxation will help in free pricing, storage and marketing of the two products, which have been in high demand since the novel coronavirus became a serious threat in the country.
An official communication was released by the ministry where it said the decision was taken after feedback from all stakeholders. No complaints were received from states regarding the availability of masks or hand sanitisers.
The communication also noted that the new status has been made applicable from July 1, 2020.
It may be noted that both masks and hand sanitisers were both listed as essential commodities as there was a sudden spike in demand for these items and many instances of overcharging occurred.
However, no such exorbitant pricing is allowed under the Essential Commodities Act 1955, which has stringent provisions to control price and stock of all products that are listed as essential under law.
As of now, there is no shortage of sanitisers and face masks in the country due to a sharp spike in production of these items. Several firms, even those not engaged in the production of such items, chipped in to make up for the shortage.
The Business Today report, however, noted that the relaxation will not be applicable for products that are categories as drugs.
The fresh removal of the two items from the essential category will allow companies to bring back price differentiation on the basis of ingredients and specifications.