Behind India's Shortage Of Safety Wear: Delays, Clutch Of Small Firms

Coronavirus updates: Doctors from Siliguri in the east to Kashmir in the far north of India at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 have complained, even threatened to go on strike because of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)

Coronavirus: Countries battling COVID-19 are facing shortage of safety wear

New Delhi:

As the coronavirus advances in India, a mass of evidence points to how crucial delays by the government in placing orders for safety wear may have exacerbated the shortage in India, potentially placing at risk thousands of healthcare professionals.

Further, when these contracts finally went out, they seem to have gone to a dozen small domestic companies, with barely the output needed for India's massive requirements.

Doctors from Siliguri in the east to Kashmir in the far north of India at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 have complained, even threatened to go on strike because of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) - specialised coveralls, gloves, goggles, masks and so on.

The complaints are not unique to India.

Countries battling the coronavirus are facing an acute shortage of safety wear, making advance planning a critical requirement.

NDTV has found, however, that the Indian government scrambled to place orders for PPE as recently as a week ago, just before, on or after the day India went into a three-week lockdown. By this time, the disease had firmly taken foot in India for at least eight weeks, with 1,637 infected and 38 dead.

Moreover, with the lockdown in place as the first orders went out, the manufacture and supply of protective wear, even though an exempted category, would face tremendous disruption, which the government itself would cite to justify nearly month-long delays in being able to deliver safety wear to hospitals.

The late response has also limited the government's options of importing safety wear, making it dependent almost entirely on domestic manufacturers. The government has been persistently evasive in dealing in sharing specifics of its projected needs for safety wear, and how it plans to meet them.

The closest indication surfaced only on March 23, the day before the lockdown, when the government uploaded the final modification of a domestic tender outlining its requirement for safety wear.

The tender, put up on the website of HLL Lifecare, a government-run company appointed as the nodal body to procure safety wear for the centre and state governments, modified the first version of the same document dated March 3.

The final version sought 10 lakh coveralls, 10 lakh protective goggles, 40 lakh N-95 masks, two crore triple-layer surgical masks, 20 lakh nitrile gloves and 10 lakh bottles of hand sanitizers.

On the same day, the Health Ministry in a statement said it was in touch with safety wear makers since February, and that samples submitted by six Indian firms had recently passed quality control tests.

The push to source from India, it said, was because of the global shortage of coronavirus safety wear. There was no mention of the names of the companies, or how they would match the massive quantities mentioned in the tender.

The very next day, March 24, it uploaded a global tender, seeking exactly the same amounts. On March 30, the ministry put out a more detailed statement, claiming that 11 Indian companies have been given contracts to supply 21 lakh coveralls. A twelfth, they said, was signed on that very day, for supplying five lakh coveralls.

The statement said orders had been placed by the government to import 30 lakh coveralls from South Korea and Singapore. No dates were mentioned of when these orders would arrive.

While this statement too neither named the companies nor mentioned when orders had been placed with them, it did mention their collective output: 6,000-7,000 pieces a day. This, the government says, was expected to double in a week to 15,000 pieces a day.

Even at the rate of 15,000 pieces a day, it will still take a whopping 173 days - close to six months - to fill the order for 26 lakh pieces.

NDTV reviewed a list compiled by the Textiles Ministry of 14 Indian safety wear companies that appear to have been contracted by the government, each of whom have been assigned a set of nodal officers to oversee production and quality.

Appointment of nodal officers of Ministry of Textiles by NDTV on Scribd

The real reason, a safety wear maker on the list told us, is to smooth over the logistical hurdles thrown up by the lockdown. The list is dated March 24.

Two of the 14 companies make fabric used in coveralls and masks.

Of the remaining 12, we contacted 11 companies - either the companies directly or the nodal officers assigned to them. Nine of the 11 companies said they had got the go-ahead to begin production on or just after March 24, the day of the lockdown.

Some companies, like Vadodara-based Sure Safety Ltd and Bangalore-based Amaryllis Healthcare Ltd, have been producing coveralls since March 24 at the rate of 500 and 1,500 pieces a day, respectively.

Others, like Tamil Nadu-based Anirup Industries and Shiva Texyarn Ltd have only begun production two days ago, at the rate of 100 and 500 pieces a day, respectively - numbers that come nowhere near meeting India's massive requirements.

The nodal officers attached to two manufacturers of safety gear, Noida-based SCG Enterprises and Kolkata-based Frontier Protective Wear, said they are yet to start production.

As these companies began production, they appear to have been hit by another consequence of the lockdown - a drying up of bank finance.

Again, the government appears to have scrambled to undo the damage caused, in a sense, by its own delay in placing orders.

In a letter on March 29, the Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, wrote to the Finance Ministry, saying "on account of the lockdown... the firms are now facing an acute shortage of working capital to mobilise resources to manufacture the required items. I shall be grateful if you would request the banks with which these firms are operating to enhance their loans within working capital limits."

The attached list of 10 safety wear manufacturers corresponds to the 14 firms named in the above list, of nodal officers assigned by the Textile Ministry.

Two days later, on March 31, the Finance Ministry wrote to the Indian Banks' Association, asking for assistance for these companies from the association's member banks.

Support to manufacturers of personal protective equipment for fighting COVID-19 threat by NDTV on Scribd

NDTV has sought a response from the Health Ministry on the delay in procurement. The ministry's response is awaited.

World

1,20,37,599Cases
49,05,972Active
65,82,226Recovered
5,49,401Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 188 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 1,20,37,599 and 5,49,401 have died; 49,05,972 are active cases and 65,82,226 have recovered as on July 9, 2020 at 9:36 am.

India

7,67,296 24879Cases
2,69,789 4845Active
4,76,378 19547Recovered
21,129 487Deaths
In India, there are 7,67,296 confirmed cases including 21,129 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,69,789 and 4,76,378 have recovered as on July 9, 2020 at 8:00 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
DistrictCases
Akola757
Aurangabad1974
Dhule228
Jalgaon1039
Mumbai45478
Mumbai Suburban5363
Nagpur692
Nashik1575
Palghar1421
Pune9920
Satara629
Solapur1291
Thane13660
Yavatmal150
Ahmednagar190
Amravati291
Beed54
Bhandara41
Buldhana88
Chandrapur32
Hingoli208
Jalna201
Kolhapur646
Latur139
Nanded176
Nandurbar42
Parbhani78
Raigad1462
Ratnagiri350
Sangli145
Gadchiroli42
gondia69
Osmanabad125
Sindhudurg114
Wardha11
Washim13

223724 6603

91084 1771

123192 4634

9448 198

DistrictCases
Chittoor319
Guntur511
Krishna557
Kurnool795
Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296
Anantapur428
East Godavari356
Prakasam104
Srikakulam183
Visakhapatnam103
West Godavari199
Y.S.R.205
Vizianagaram23

22259 1062

10894

11101 1356

264 12

DistrictCases
Bengaluru Rural40
Bengaluru Urban529
Mysuru107
Bagalkote103
Ballari60
Belagavi337
Bidar219
Chikkaballapura149
Dakshina Kannada179
Dharwad61
Gadag45
Kalaburagi669
Mandya346
Tumakuru36
Uttara Kannada95
Vijayapura201
Chamarajanagara0
Chikkamagaluru19
Chitradurga14
Davangere204
Hassan205
Haveri24
Kodagu4
Kolar29
Koppal5
Raichur369
Ramanagara3
Shivamogga67
Udupi1176
Yadgir538

28877 2062

16531 1230

11876 778

470 54

DistrictCases
North Goa57
South Goa69

2039 136

824 85

1207 51

8

DistrictCases
Chengalpattu1314
Chennai23324
Kanchipuram503
Madurai322
Namakkal83
Ranipet133
Thanjavur130
Thiruvallur774
Thiruvarur67
Tiruppur116
Vellore71
Virudhunagar185
Ariyalur444
Coimbatore188
Cuddalore477
Dharmapuri15
Dindigul175
Erode75
Kallakurichi324
Kanniyakumari110
Karur88
Nagapattinam99
Perambalur133
Pudukkottai53
Ramanathapuram119
Salem258
Sivaganga46
Tenkasi103
The Nilgiris17
Theni129
Tiruchirappalli119
Tirunelveli433
Tirupathur45
Tiruvannamalai496
Tuticorin333
Villupuram509
Krishnagiri43

122350 3756

46483 641

74167 3051

1700 64

DistrictCases
Kannur357
Kottayam73
Alappuzha76
Idukki40
Kasaragod333
Kollam118
Kozhikode90
Malappuram119
Palakkad224
Pathanamthitta98
Thiruvananthapuram104
Thrissur106
Ernakulam60
Wayanad36

6195 301

2609 194

3559 107

27

DistrictCases
Raipur46
Korba100
Balod41
Baloda Bazar85
Balrampur17
Bastar2
Bemetara21
Bijapur2
Bilaspur100
Dantewada0
Dhamtari6
Durg31
Gariyaband10
Janjgir-Champa56
Jashpur77
Kabirdham52
Kanker19
Kondagaon0
Korea39
Mahasamund54
Mungeli87
Narayanpur0
Raigarh47
Rajnandgaon52
Sukma0
Surajpur9
Surguja14

3525 110

676 26

2835 84

14

DistrictCases
Hyderabad2475
MedchalMalkajgiri75
Ranga Reddy183
Suryapet87
Vikarabad40
Warangal Urban32
Adilabad22
Jagitial77
Jangoan8
Jayashankar Bhupalapally9
Jogulamba Gadwal40
Kamareddy11
Karimnagar17
Khammam26
Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8
Mahabubnagar30
Mancherial43
Medak11
Nalgonda33
Narayanpet3
Nirmal21
Nizamabad76
RajannaSircilla16
Sangareddy26
Bhadradri Kothagudem5
Mahabubabad10
Mulugu3
Nagarkurnool8
Peddapalli5
Siddipet7
Wanaparthy1
Warangal Rural4
YadadriBhuvanagiri40

29536 1924

11933 921

17279 992

324 11

DistrictCases
Baleshwar190
Bhadrak137
Jajapur322
Dhenkanal36
Kalahandi33
Kendrapara164
Khordha238
Koraput16
Sundargarh102
Anugul26
Balangir129
Bargarh16
Boudh34
Cuttack155
Deogarh33
Gajapati61
Ganjam581
Jagatsinghapur91
Jharsuguda8
Kandhamal28
Kendujhar34
Malkangiri20
Mayurbhanj73
Nabarangpur2
Nayagarh86
Nuapada69
Puri103
Rayagada2
Sambalpur16
Sonepur29

10624 527

3570 218

7006 303

48 6

DistrictCases
Barwani60
Bhopal1880
Dewas140
Dhar132
East Nimar266
Gwalior211
Indore3839
Jabalpur276
Ujjain799
Agar Malwa15
Alirajpur3
Betul35
Burhanpur351
Chhindwara16
Dindori29
Harda4
Hoshangabad37
Khargone196
Mandsaur112
Morena109
Raisen71
Ratlam51
Sagar228
Shajapur39
Shandol14
Sheopur26
Tikamgarh18
Vidisha37
Anuppur22
Ashoknagar13
Balaghat9
Bhind87
Chhatarpur35
Damoh26
Datia12
Guna8
Jhabua14
Katni3
Mandla15
Narsinghpur17
Neemuch319
Niwari0
Panna20
Rajgarh31
Rewa39
Satna24
Sehore12
Seoni2
Shivpuri15
Sidhi17
Singrauli13
Umaria10

16036 409

3420 183

11987 219

629 7

DistrictCases
Ahmadabad17125
Anand107
Arvalli134
Banas Kantha147
Bhavnagar146
Gandhinagar410
PanchMahals107
Surat2311
Vadodara1555
Bharuch56
Botad55
Chhotaudepur37
Dang5
Dohad43
GirSomnath45
Jamnagar63
Kachchh99
Kheda98
Mahesana159
Mahisagar125
Narmada25
Naysari35
Patan105
Rajkot135
SabarKantha101
Surendranagar55
Tapi6
Valsad47
Amreli16
DevbhumiDwarka22
Junagadh31
Morbi4
Porbandar11

38333 783

9051 198

27289 569

1993 16

DistrictCases
Ajmer379
Banswara91
Bharatpur563
Jaipur2177
Jhalawar329
Jodhpur1748
Kota503
Nagaur500
Alwar90
Barmer34
Bhilwara250
Bikaner112
Chittorgarh188
Churu81
Dausa61
Dholpur60
Dungarpur374
Hanumangarh31
Jaisalmer53
Jhunjhunu64
Karauli17
Pali352
Rajsamand140
SawaiMadhopur26
Sikar231
Tonk171
Udaipur724
Baran59
Bundi5
Ganganagar8
Jalore164
Pratapgarh14
Sirohi130

22063 659

4715 358

16866 291

482 10

DistrictCases
Faridabad867
Sonipat404
Ambala93
Bhiwani60
CharkiDadri43
Fatehabad38
Gurugram2950
Hisar98
Jhajjar114
Jind38
Kaithal48
Karnal104
Kurukshetra55
Nuh68
Palwal120
Panchkula39
Panipat78
Rohtak145
Sirsa50
Yamunanagar19
Mahendragarh47
Rewari56

18690 691

4302 227

14106 461

282 3

DistrictCases
Agra933
Aligarh215
Amroha80
Bareilly17
Bijnor157
Bulandshahr166
Firozabad190
Gautam Buddha Nagar1119
Kanpur Nagar286
Lucknow386
Mathura129
Meerut504
Moradabad252
Muzaffarnagar117
Rae Bareli78
Rampur203
Saharanpur298
Sant Kabeer Nagar132
Varanasi243
Auraiya37
Ayodhya120
Azamgarh138
Baghpat68
Bahraich73
Balrampur49
Banda27
Basti214
Bhadohi60
Budaun23
Etah52
Etawah46
Ghaziabad794
Ghazipur159
Gonda59
Gorakhpur166
Hapur225
Hardoi49
Jalaun41
Jaunpur194
Jhansi41
Kannauj69
Kasganj16
Kaushambi6
Mainpuri46
Mau48
Mirzapur22
Pilibhit15
Pratapgarh15
Prayagraj30
Sambhal116
Shamli40
Shravasti23
Sitapur32
Sultanpur97
Unnao42
Ambedkar Nagar92
Amethi206
Ballia60
Barabanki168
Chandauli38
Chitrakoot4
Deoria143
Farrukhabad36
Fatehpur3
Hamirpur3
Hathras43
Kanpur Dehat4
Kheri72
Kushi Nagar67
Lalitpur3
Maharajganj85
Mahoba3
Shahjahanpur25
Siddharth Nagar159
Sonbhadra10

31156 1188

9980 466

20331 704

845 18

DistrictCases
Central4817
East2472
New Delhi3405
North3059
North East1914
North West5463
Shahdara1580
South2329
South East2446
South West2391
West4768

104864 2033

23452

78199 3982

3213 48

DistrictCases
Dhubri30
Goalpara19
Marigaon50
Baksa14
Barpeta28
Biswanath16
Bongaigaon12
Cachar80
Charaideo29
Chirang6
Darrang20
Dhemaji47
Dibrugarh61
Dima Hasao86
Golaghat203
Hailakandi57
Hojai89
Jorhat24
Kamrup42
Kamrup Metro276
KarbiAnglong13
Karimganj85
Kokrajhar37
Lakhimpur57
Majuli2
Nagaon143
Nalbari23
Sivasagar20
Sonitpur27
South SalmaraMancachar4
Tinsukia84
Udalguri28
West KarbiAnglong5

13336 814

4591 412

8729 400

16 2

DistrictCases
East District3
North District0
South District3
West District0

133 8

62 7

71 1

0

DistrictCases
Buxar134
Gaya115
Munger188
Patna279
Rohtas256
Arwal52
Aurangabad75
Banka134
Begusarai243
Bhagalpur266
Bhojpur103
Darbhanga143
Gopalganj123
Jehanabad178
Kaimur (bhabua)105
Lakhisarai72
Madhepura82
Madhubani199
Nalanda123
Nawada122
PurbiChamparan138
Purnia135
Saran101
Siwan139
Vaishali87
Araria68
Jamui47
Katihar175
Khagaria253
Kishanganj75
Muzaffarpur96
Pashchim Champaran57
Saharsa88
Samastipur139
Sheikhpura118
Sheohar20
Sitamarhi73
Supaul87

13189 619

3528 346

9554 270

107 3

DistrictCases
24 Paraganas North1031
24 Paraganas South281
Darjeeling97
Howrah1435
Jalpaiguri88
Kalimpong18
Kolkata2777
Maldah235
Medinipur East153
Medinipur West159
Hooghly604
Murshidabad125
Nadia139
Paschim Bardhaman70
Purba Bardhaman130
Alipurduar39
Bankura116
Birbhum206
Coochbehar210
Dinajpur Dakshin50
Dinajpur Uttar216
Jhargram9
Purulia66

24823 986

7705 462

16291 501

827 23

DistrictCases
South Andamans33
Nicobars1
North And Middle Andaman1

149 2

72

77 2

0

DistrictCases
Pondicherry111
Karaikal2
Mahe4
Yanam0

1008 78

514 32

480 46

14

DistrictCases
Anjaw0
Changlang31
Dibang Valley0
East Kameng0
East Siang1
Kamle0
KraDaadi0
KurungKumey0
Leparada0
Lohit3
Longding0
Lower Dibang Valley0
Lower Siang0
Lower Subansiri0
Namsai2
PakkeKessang1
Papum Pare8
Shi Yomi0
Siang0
Tawang1
Tirap0
Upper Siang1
Upper Subansiri0
West Kameng0
West Siang1

287 11

176 7

109 4

2

DistrictCases
Dimapur20
Kiphire3
Kohima7
Longleng0
Mokokchung0
Mon8
Peren2
Phek1
Tuensang3
Wokha0
Zunheboto0

657 32

353

304 61

0

DistrictCases
Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

0

0

0

0

DistrictCases
Ranchi148
Bokaro16
Deoghar5
Dhanbad32
Garhwa80
Giridih19
Hazaribagh110
Jamtara2
Koderma58
Simdega48
Chatra1
Dumka5
East Singhbum170
Godda2
Gumla28
Khunti10
Latehar14
Lohardaga8
Pakur4
Palamu27
Ramgarh75
Sahebganj0
SaraikelaKharsawan20
West Singhbhum21

3096 100

904 34

2170 66

22

DistrictCases
Gomati74
North Tripura14
Dhalai196
Khowai24
Sepahijala174
South Tripura53
Unakoti49
West Tripura45

1761 57

436

1324 76

1

DistrictCases
Kargil77
LehLadakh43

1041

204

836

1

DistrictCases
Anantnag395
Bandipora175
Shopian255
Srinagar300
Baramulla271
Budgam110
Ganderbal37
Jammu138
Kathua53
Kulgam295
Kupwara231
Rajouri39
Ramban151
Reasi26
Samba25
Udhampur155
Mirpur0
Muzaffarabad0
Doda27
Kishtwar10
Poonch35
Pulwama108

9261 330

3545 156

5567 168

149 6

DistrictCases
Chamba29
Hamirpur117
Kangra105
Sirmaur11
Solan32
Una41
Bilaspur21
Kinnaur2
Kullu4
Lahaul And Spiti0
Mandi21
Shimla10

1101 18

257

833 43

11

DistrictCases
Jalandhar297
Ludhiana293
Patiala132
Amritsar485
Barnala25
Faridkot74
Firozepur50
Gurdaspur154
Hoshiarpur140
Kapurthala44
Mansa31
Moga65
Pathankot86
S.A.S Nagar137
Sangrur107
Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99
Sri Muktsar Sahib71
Tarn Taran163
Bathinda60
Fatehgarh Sahib57
Fazilka53
Rupnagar (Ropar)74

6907 158

1901

4828 274

178 3

DistrictCases
Haridwar94
Dehradun370
Nainital323
Almora71
Bageshwar31
Chamoli36
Champawat45
PauriGarhwal36
Pithoragarh43
Rudraprayag30
Tehri Garhwal110
Udam Singh Nagar83
Uttar Kashi24

3258 28

562

2650 29

46 3

DistrictCases
Bishnupur7
Chandel5
Churachandpur32
Imphal East10
Imphal West21
Jiribam3
Kakching2
Kamjong5
Kangpokpi26
Noney1
Pherzawl3
Senapati6
Tamenglong2
Tengnoupal9
Thoubal18
Ukhrul4

1435 5

642

793 22

0

DistrictCases
Chandigarh313

513 19

104 18

402 1

7

DistrictCases
East Khasi Hills22
East Garo Hills0
East Jaintia Hills0
North Garo Hills1
Ribhoi0
South Garo Hills0
South West Garo Hills4
South West Khasi Hills0
West Garo Hills5
West Jaintia Hills1
West Khasi Hills1

80

36

43

1

DistrictCases
Aizawl10
Champhai0
Hnahthial0
Khawzawl0
Kolasib11
Lawngtlai2
Lunglei2
Mamit8
Saiha0
Saitual1
Serchhip0

197

64

133

0

DistrictCases
Lakshadweep District0

0

0

0

0