India, which didn't make even a single coronavirus protective gear kit earlier, is now producing over 4.5 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits daily, Union Minister Smriti Irani has said.
Over 600 companies in the country are now certified to manufacture PPEs, she said in a social media post on Monday.
India has almost doubled its production rate in just two weeks -- on May 5, the country was producing 2.06 lakh PPE kits daily.
PPE Update as on 18 th May - today we have crossed per day production of 4.5 lac PPE suits .. India now has over 600 companies who are lab certified to manufacture PPE— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) May 18, 2020
A PPE kit consists of a mask, eye shield, shoe cover, gown, and gloves, which doctors and healthcare workers wear during the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the country had to import these kits. The manufacture of PPE kits in India began within two months of the pandemic surfacing.
Ms Irani said two weeks ago, only 52 companies were manufacturing PPE kits. Now it has sharply increased with more certified to manufacture PPEs.
Early this month, the centre had said it has ordered 2.22 crore PPEs, of which 1.43 crore will be made by domestic manufacturers. The rest are to be imported.
PPEs for health workers and others on the frontline of the coronavirus fight have been in huge demand but in the early days of the country's fight against the deadly virus, doctors and others complained of an acute shortage of these.
Gradually, many small companies, even villages, started manufacturing the kits for the government.
In his latest address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a mention of this significant leap for the country.
"When the COVID-19 crisis started, not even a single PPE kit was manufactured in India and only a few N-95 masks were available. Today, two lakh PPE kits and two lakh N95 masks are manufactured in India daily," he had said on May 12.
Since then, the numbers have doubled.
Some 200 women of a village in Andhra Pradesh restarted a defunct tailoring unit and are producing masks, shoe covers and lab coats in bulk. They are churning out 15,000 masks, 6,000 shoe covers and 5,000 lab coats and supplying them to the state government.
Companies like Alok Industries, JCT Phagwara, Gokaldas Exports, Aditya Birla, are some of the domestic PPE kits manufacturers.