New Delhi: Manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) will now need to create marking on their products with a unique code and tamper-proof stickers, according to the textile ministry. The move comes after reports emerged that unapproved products were being sold in the market.
Healthcare workers are at most risk of infection as they come in close contact with Covid-19 patients. With a global shortage of PPE that is supposed to protect them, the demand for such equipment has grown exponentially in hospitals and among sanitation workers who are called on to disinfect high risk areas.
Ministry officials said, was to tighten the production of PPE among Indian manufacturers and producers in line with the specifications of the World Health Organisation and the union ministry of health and welfare.
The ministry, in a notification issued on April 6, said the Unique Certification Code (UCC-COVID19) will apply to PPE garments and fabric which pass the laboratory tests laid down by the South India Textile Research Association (SITRA) as well as the the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE). The Code will record the type of garment, its test procedure, date of test. The certification will be valid for a certain time period and both SITRA and DRDE will preserve the sample sent by the producer, said the notification, accessed by HT.
Another directive was that in the case of coveralls, the manufacturer will print in indelible ink or in a tamper-proof sticker details such as name of producer, code, test standard, batch number, order details.
Nihar Ranjan Dash, joint secretary at the textiles ministry said that the, “Certification mainly concerns coveralls and fabric provided by certain manufacturers to producers of PPEs. The directive does not concern masks, as they are certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards. All this while, as we relied on imports, the specifications were of international standards.
The tightening of norms will also help Indian manufacturers prepare for the global market. The current capacity of the Indian industry is 12,000 units per day, but Dash said that in about three months, India has the production capacity of 300,000 PPEs per day”
India has began domestic production of PPE in March, these two testing agencies have approved 28 manufacturers with non-woven textiles such as masks and coveralls, and additionally approved 22 manufacturers of the fabric that is supplied to some of these producers.
Parag of Sai Synergy, a producer of PPEs, said that their products have been ordered by the Indian Navy before and hence their products carry a sticker. “The sticker has to be put during the manufacturing process and cannot be put there after,” he said.