If things move exactly according to what industry is planning, India may emerge as a hub for sourcing PPE kits in next few years.
India, currently making around 1.87 lakh PPE kits every day, is ranked two following China as far as manufacturing PPES is concerned. Across all leading apparel manufacturing hubs, hundreds of apparel manufacturers are making PPEs for the domestic market and are geared up to export the same.
“We find that there will be a domestic demand of PPE worth Rs. 10,000 crore for the next one year. Internationally, there will be a US $ 60 billion business in 2025 whereas India has done only US $ 260 million so far last year,” says Dr. A. Sakthivel, Chairman, AEPC.
AEPC is creating awareness on PPE manufacturing and to support further Indian apparel manufacturers, AEPC will have a separate cell for PPE kits as its immediate task is to provide sufficient PPE kits domestically so as to prevent the further import of these kits. The council also organised a webinar ‘Manufacturing of PPE Products under Medical Textiles’.
As of now, many of PPE products needed for frontline health workers are banned for exports. Buying houses also raised this issue and are of the view that once the local manufacturers satisfy the Indian demand, they should be allowed to export. AEPC has already submitted a request with the Government.
Seam sealing machine is one of the most required machines for PPE and India has to import it.
P.D. Vaghela, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), said that there are currently 6 companies making N-95 masks, while 7 more are in the process to start the same. Every day India is making more than 2 lakh of such masks.
Dr KS Sundararaman, Chairman, Indian Technical Textiles Association (ITTA), averred “There is a very strong anti-China sourcing sentiment going on right now and this is an opportunity for us to capture. We have a vibrant Indian market and we have a great global market. Please reach out to doctors who are near you and understand these medical professionals who will wear these PPEs. Connect with them and understand the practical aspects of breathability and wearability issues that they are having and create garments accordingly. If you are able to satisfy that customer, the world is at our feet.”
South India Textile Research Association (SITRA) is a nodal agency as far as parameter and approval for PPE manufacturing is a concern.
Dr. Prakash Vasudevan, Director, SITRA, said “We have two classifications – single-use and reusable. Both are widely acceptable in today’s scenario because disposal or single-use is becoming very complicated. The only way to dispose all this medical waste is incineration and considering our situation safe disposal is a big problem. So, reusables are also slowly coming in.”
Various international tech giants are also there to support Indian companies in this regard and one of them is Lectra, the leader in cutting room solutions.
Prasenjeet Shambharkar, Solutions Consultant, Lectra India, said “WHO has predicted that globally 89 million masks, 30 million gowns, 1.6 million goggles, 76 million gloves and 2.9 million litres of hand sanitisers are required per month during the pandemic. There are different types of PPE kits which are required; while one is for the doctors the other is for the investigation team.”