COVID-19: Govt notifies Regulating Prices of Masks and Hand Sanitizers under Essential Commodities Act

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The Government of India issued an order regulating the prices of the masks and hand sanitizers under Essential Commodities Act, 1955 in the run to curb the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution issued an order on March 21, 2020, in the name of Economic Adviser, A.K. Choudhary.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs amended the Schedule of the Essential Commodities Act 1955, keeping in mind the difficulty in the availability of the N95 masks and hand sanitizers. The masks and sanitizers are sold at the exorbitant price.

In order to ensure the proper availability of masks and hand sanitizers in the market, the government has put masks and hand sanitisers under Essential Commodities Act (ECA) up to June 30, 2020.

This order of the union empowered the state government to carry out operations against order speculators and those involved in black marketing and overpricing. Offenders may be punished with an imprisonment of 7 years or fine or both.

The officials said, “Masks with a retail price of Rs 300 was being sold at Rs 1200 and hand sanitisers worth Rs 40 is being sold at Rs 100. The government has taken a strong decision to curb such unethical trade practices.”

In order to curb such black marketing and exploitation of consumers the order issued by the government made it mandatory that the prices of the masks and hand sanitizers must not be more than the price which was charged before one month. The following regulation of the price was undertaken:

Name of the Product The price charged (not more than)
3 ply surgical mask Not more than Rs. 10/-
2 ply mask Not more than Rs. 8/-
200 ml bottle of sanitizer Not more than Rs. 100/-

This notification shall remain into force till June 30, 2020.

To Read the full text of the Notification CLICK HERE