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India poised to become global hub for PPE production

PPE production

On March 1, India did not have any facility to produce a single personal protective equipment (PPE) kit, the protective gear for health and sanitization workers and was totally import dependent. By mid-May, India was producing 4.5 lakh PPEs a day, thanks to the co-ordination between the Centre and states. In just two months, India has seen a totally new industry take birth, bloom, and now ready to be a global market leader.

PPE kits can be of various types, catering to the different segments of society. Specifications of industrial PPE are different from that of healthcare gears. The PPEs used by the common people are again different from the other two.

According to an analysis by Invest India, the nodal body facilitating fresh investments in the country, the PPE industry in India could turn into a Rs 7,000-crore industry in the next few months. Deepak Bagla, CEO and managing director, Invest India, said that India today has enough PPE kits and is self-sufficient. “The PPE industry is a success story for India. We did not produce a single PPE till beginning March but once we realized that the coronavirus would become a serious challenge, we moved swiftly, thanks to the co-ordinated efforts of the Centre and state governments and today we are producing 4.5 lakh PPE a day.

There is no shortage of PPE kits in the country anymore,” Bagla told IN. The Invest India analysis said that India has about 16 lakh PPE kits in the Centre-state buffer stock, and orders for another 2.2 crore PPE kits have already been placed to domestic manufacturers. Sample this. The Aditya Birla Group has started producing a million triple layer surgical masks and N95 masks. Ahmedabad-based Arvind Mills, the Punjab-based Trident Group, JCT Mills, and Matrix Clothing among others have been producing the PPE kits. Region-wise, Bengaluru, which accounts for about 50 per cent of the total production, has become a major hub for PPE manufacturing.

Beside Bengaluru, new production units have also come up in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur, Chennai, and Coimbatore. In Gujarat, production of PPE kits is taking place in Ahmedabad and Vadodara. Phagwara and Ludhiana in Punjab and many other places including Kolkata, Dungarpur in Rajasthan, Delhi, Noida and Gurugram have also started producing the much-required PPE kits. The domestic textile manufacturing industry has played an important role in the manufacturing of the PPE kits, such as gloves and masks besides full PPE sets including body coveralls, gloves, and shoe covers.

“The idea is to make India the global hub for PPEs, the PPEs will be in demand for some time now and the idea is to eventually supply these to other countries as well,” Bagla said. “PPEs are now essential items, and even after the pandemic, the need for these will remain, you need PPEs even without Covid-19,” a Gurugram-based doctor said.