Government works in unison to produce essential commodities during Kovid

New Delhi: According to a World Bank report, the Indian government worked in unison to accelerate local production during the Kovid-19 pandemic, which helped reduce the cost of products and reduce dependence on the global supply chain.

It was said in the report that there was no compromise on quality in the huge procurement process done by the government during this period. In July, the World Bank released a discussion paper titled “Buying India COVID-19: Challenges, Innovations and Lessons”. In this, information has been given about the challenges of supply chain facing India during Kovid-19 and how to face it in an innovative way. In this, an in-depth analysis of the steps taken by the central government to ensure the supply of medical supplies during the peak period of the pandemic has been done. In which the government’s united efforts to develop the local market are also included.

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The report highlighted that India’s specialty tests were private sector participation and nearly 50 per cent of testing laboratories and capital, along with the production of COVID-19 related equipment, IT-enabled teleconsultation and intensive care units (ICUs). For ICU management, additional resources were arranged from the private sector. Global supply chains were under pressure from demand for COVID-19 related goods and unprecedented demand for life-saving drugs, creating a supply-driven market with huge price differentials.

Difference in the impact of Kovid-19 across states

Due to this, India has faced serious challenges including limited domestic capacity to produce essential medical equipment, insufficient market information, difference in the impact of COVID-19 across states, price and supply pressures due to global demand and earlier this period. Not having experience in handling epidemics of the same level was involved. To deal with all these concerns, the government took the responsibility of centralized procurement to help the states. With the existing legal framework and budget, flexible approach was taken to procure goods expeditiously while empowering groups to take decisions expeditiously. The country initially banned exports and encouraged the private sector to finance and support domestic production and laboratory setting. These measures initially led to a boom in imports and later to the development of the local market.

Helped by HLL Lifecare Limited as a Buying Agent

The Central Procurement Cell (CPD) and Emergency Medical Response (EMR) Cells that function under the Ministry of Health and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) initially tried to maintain the supply chain. In this HLL Lifecare Limited helped as a buying agent. The CPD primarily focused on procuring PPE kits, N-95 masks which were essential for the safety of health workers, while the ICMR set up laboratory facilities for rapid testing in collaboration with the private sector.

The price of N-95 masks has come down from Rs 250 to Rs 20

The World Bank said in its report, “The stand of a united government was adopted by taking all ministries and state governments together. Also ensured that the roles and responsibilities of different procurement committees are clear. Coordination with industries, faster process of tendering, inspection by the designated agency before shipment helped in ensuring the quality of the products. For example, the price of N-95 masks has come down from Rs 250 to Rs 20 while the PPE kit which was initially priced at Rs 700 was available for Rs 150.

Tags:, COVID 19, New Delhi

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