Face masks and hand sanitisers are no longer part of the Essential Commodities List with effect from June 30, with the government deciding not to extend its earlier order of declaring them as essential commodities.
In an office memorandum issued on July 1 to other ministries and government departments, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs said these products are being removed from the list of essential commodities as “there was no adverse reports from the States/UTs with respect to their price and availability”. “Therefore, the Department has decided not to continue these items as essential commodities under the Essential Commodities under the EC Act, 1955, beyond 30.06.2020,” it added.
It may be recalled that the government put face masks and hand sanitisers in the list of essential commodities in early March to ensure their availability and also to make sure that manufacturers are not overcharging consumers till June 30.
The government also took several proactive steps, including encouraging sugar mills and ethanol manufacturers to supply alcohol at reasonable rates to hand sanitiser makers, so that there was shortage of these materials during the lockdown period and beyond.