Government Expands List Of Essential Items To Include Hygiene Products
Production of several essential goods were running low as factories stopped production in several states.
The central government expanded its list of essential items to include hygiene products such as soaps, detergents, sanitary napkins and diapers, among others, that can be sold to the 1.3 billion Indians under a three-week-long lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
BloombergQuint, on March 29, was the first to report that production of several essential goods were running low as factories stopped production in several states on account of a lack of a common list of essential items. Feminine hygiene products faced imminent risk of going out of stock. Most sanitary napkin makers shut their plants as they weren’t included in the essential items list.
“It will take another three to four days to start sanitary napkins manufacturing facilities as it will take time to get all the required permissions and passes for workers,” said Rajesh Shah, president of Feminine and Infant Hygiene Association of India, which includes Johnson & Johnson India and Proacter & Gamble Hygiene that sells sanitary napkins under the brand name Stayfree and Whisper, respectively, among others. Also, these capacities will work at 50 percent capacity utilisation as social distancing needs to be maintained at factories, Shah told BloombergQuint.
An essential item factory needs a certificate from the district industries centre/state government/local police commissioner to resume production, besides access passes for factory workers, transport vehicles and drivers of these vehicles. Private transport to ferry workers while ensuring social distancing norms are met.
What’s now included in the list of essential items
- Sanitary napkins
- Soaps and detergents
- Surface cleaners and disinfectants
- Body wash and shampoos
- Tissue papers
- Toothpaste/ other oral care products
- Battery cells, chargers
What was already on the list
- Fruits & Vegetables
- Rice, wheat flour, other cereals and pulses
- Sugar and salt, spices and masalas
- Bakery and dairy (milk, milk products)
- Tea and coffee
- Eggs, meat and fish
- Food grains, oil, masala and food ingredients
- Packaged food and beverages
- Health supplements, nutraceuticals, food for special dietary use and food for special medical purpose
- Infant/baby food
- Animal feed/pet food
- Food delivery services and e-commerce for above mentioned products
- Cold storage and warehousing of food products
- Fuel such as coal, rice husk, diesel/furnace oil and others necessary to run manufacturing plants and factories
- All raw materials, intermediaries, packaging materials needed to support the above list of products