Ludhiana: In a relief to the personal protective equipment (PPE) suit manufacturers, who were facing the risk of closing their units due to huge shortage of local orders and drop in rates, the government of India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Monday allowed the export of their product.
However, as of now, the DGFT has restricted the monthly export quota to 50 lakh PPE suits/medical coveralls, for which the interested firms will have to apply for an exports licence.
An estimated 4.5 lakh to 5 lakh suits per day were being manufactured in India and the country went on to become its second largest manufacturer in the world in no time. The development is significant for Punjab’s industry, especially Ludhiana’s where more than 110 manufacturers have got approval from the Central government laboratories, like DRDO and SITRA, to manufacture PPE suits.
In the past few weeks, the manufacturers were upset with the government for not allowing them to export PPEs as lakhs of suits were piling up in their units due to overproduction. A few days ago, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh too had shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking for a nod to allow the industry to export the PPE suits.
Welcoming the move, Harish Dua, a member of Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), said, “We are thankful to minister of commerce Piyush Goyal and minister of textiles Smriti Irani for accepting our demand. Our chairman Dr A Sakthivel played a role in pursuing this matter, which concerned a large number of manufacturers who had huge unsold stock worth hundreds of crores. The newly started PPE industry of Punjab, especially Ludhiana’s, was on the verge of collapse without any sales. But now after opening of exports, we will have a global reach. Not only will we be able to sell our products, but will also get better rates than India.”
According to Harish Kairpal, finance secretary of Knitwear Club, “Ever since the lockdown, this is the only good news that we have received. However, the decision has come a little late as already the manufacturers from our neighbouring countries have started exporting PPE suits in large quantities to big markets like Dubai and Europe. But we are still hopeful that we will be able to sell our unsold stock. A PPE suit, which in April could easily fetch Rs 635, is not even selling at 50% discount. This has happened because a large number of manufacturers entered the field. From Ludhiana alone, about 200 factories are making PPE suits, of which about 110 have the approval.”
Narinder Mittal, general secretary of Ludhiana Business Forums, said, “CM Captain Amarinder Singh and industry minister Sunder Sham Arora both took up the matter with the Prime Minister, giving us a glimmer of hope. Now with exports being allowed, though with some riders, we will at least be able to find overseas buyers.”
Export of 50 lakh units of PPE suits/medical coveralls for Covid-19 allowed every month from India
Exporters need to apply through DGFT’s ECOM system for export authorisation digitally
Application filed from 1st to 3rd day of every month will be considered for the monthly quota
Validity of export licence will be three months for the successful exporter