Government relaxes norms to boost N95 mask production

New Delhi: To speed up production of N95 face masks, the government on Saturday said it has relaxed norms and allowed companies with valid license to use outside facilities to manufacture the product.

As per the norm, companies having an 'inhouse facility' were only allowed to manufacture N95 face masks.

"Companies were facing problems because of this condition. So, we have relaxed this norm. Now, they can use outside facilities for manufacturing N95 masks," Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Director General Pramod Kumar Tiwari told the media via video conference.

The BIS, a national standards setting body, has come out with certain parameters for N95 mask production and issuing licences for companies to manufacture.

Tiwari said the government is trying to improve the availability of N95 masks, which are required in this COVID-19 crisis.

Before COVID-19 pandemic, only six companies in India were making N95 masks. Now, 13 companies have applied for manufacturing licenses from the BIS, he said.

"We have already given a license to one company. The products of four companies are being tested," Tiwari said.

The current production is around 2.30 lakh per day, depending on shifts. Additional 2 lakh per day production is likely after the licenses are issued, he added.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan said a dashboard has also been launched that will give details of both BIS and non-BIS of N95 manufacturers along with the location.

Self Help Groups in rural areas are also manufacturing face masks and their details are also on the dashboard, she added.

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