Earlier, The Union ministry of consumer affairs on March 21, 2020 notified, under the Essential Commodities Act, the ‘Fixation of Prices of Masks (2 ply and 3 ply), melt blown non-woven fabric and hand sanitizers Order, 2020’ , putting a cap on the prices of these goods declared as Essential Commodities.
Meanwhile, AIOCD seeks revision on the prices of these two essential commodities. They appealed to the government to revisit the prices of these products as it has caused huge losses to them.
The All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD), an apex body of about eight lakh chemists and druggists, in a letter to consumer affairs, food and public distribution ministry a couple of days back has cited losses incurred by the chemists pan-India due to fixation of prices of melt blown- non woven mask and hand sanitizers and sought amendment to the ‘Fixation of Prices of Masks (2 ply and 3 ply), melt blown non-woven fabric and hand sanitizers Order, 2020 notified under the Essential Commodities Act by the ministry.
“Manufacturers of mask and sanitizers revised the prices upward compared to the prices prevailing on or before one month prior i.e. February 12, 2020. Chemists were forced to buy the stock keeping in mind to maintain uninterrupted supply to the needy public. After the notification issued by consumer affairs, food and public distribution ministry, chemists shall not be able to sell mask and sanitizers at maximum retail price (MRP) fixed by it as their purchase prices were higher than the declared prices.” Said J.S Shinde, AIOCD President.
Under the current circumstances, the trade body requested to the ministry to revise the notification with references to its applicability for prospective purchase and sale from March 23, 2020.
AIOCD opined that if the order is not amended, these essential commodities would be sold from non licensing premises.
As per the notification by Union Government, the retail prices of hand sanitizers shall be capped at Rs. 100 per bottle of 200 ml, surgical mask (3 ply) at Rs. 10 a piece and mask (2 ply) at Rs. 8 per piece. Melt blown non-woven fabric used in manufacturing face masks (2 ply and 3 ply) have also been capped at the prices prevailing a month ago, as on February 12, 2020. Both these items have already been included in the Essential Commodities Act. The price caps will remain in force up to June 30, 2020.
Besides fixing prices, the ministry on March 19, 2020 asked distilleries to ramp production of Ethyl Alcohol and provide them to manufacturers of deodorant sprays so that there is no shortage of hand sanitizers.