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National News

Mar 20, 2020

Govt regularly reviewing the situation to ensure adequate supplies of medicines: Ashwini Kumar Choubey

The Minister of State for Health and Family welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed the Lok Sabha that Government is regularly reviewing the situation to ensure adequate supplies of medicines to the patients.

Disclosing this in a written reply to a question, minister also said that Government has noted that the 2 ply & 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks and hand sanitizers are not available with most of the vendors in the market or are available with great difficulty at exorbitant prices. He said that govt. has notified an Order under the Essential commodities (ECs) Act, 1955 to declare these items as Essential Commodities up to 30th June, 2020 by amending the Schedule of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

Minister also said that Central Government has also issued an advisory under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009. Under the Essential Commodities Act, after discussions with the manufacturers, States can ask them to enhance their production capacity of these items to make the supply chain smooth, while under the Legal Metrology Act, the States can ensure sale of both the items at the maximum retail price (MRP).

Minister further said that the States may take action against the offenders under the EC Act. An offender under the EC Act may be punished with an imprisonment upto 7 years or fine or both. The decision would empower the Government and States to regulate production, quality, distribution etc. of masks (2 ply & 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitizers and to smoothen the sale and availability of these items and carry out operations against orders speculators etc. and those involved in over pricing, black-marketing etc. It will enhance the availability of both the items to the general people at reasonable prices or under MRP.

The States are also advised to give publicity of State Helplines for registering complaints by the consumers of the above two items. The consumers may also register their complaints in this matter with the National Consumer Helpline No. 1800-11-4000, Online Complaints: 
www.consumerhelpline.gov.in, Department’s Website www.consumeraffairs.nic.in, dsadmin- ca@nic.in and dirwm-ca@nic.insecy.doca@gov.in. Minister also said that due to the steps taken by the government, India has been classified as “more prepared” as per index of average overall global health security score 2019.

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