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GOI Put Masks and Hand Sanitizers Under the Essential Commodities Act

Published on March 14, 2020
Current context: The Government has notified an Order under the Essential Commodities (EC) Act to declare masks and hand sanitizers as Essential Commodities up to 30th June 2020.
GOI Put Masks and Hand Sanitizers Under the Essential Commodities Act
  • The government has amended the Schedule of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to bring these items under the EC Act.
  • The step is taken in view of the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) and non-availability of the masks (2 ply & 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitizers.
  • The decision would empower the Centre and states/union territories to regulate the production, quality, distribution of the items.
  • Under the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act:
    1. States can ask manufacturers to enhance their production capacity of these items.
    2. The state government can take action against order speculators, black marketing and overpricing.
    3. An offender under the EC Act may be punished with imprisonment of up to seven years or fine, or both.
  • The EC Act was enacted in 1955 to ensure the delivery of certain commodities or products, in the interest of the general public.
  • The Government can fix the retail price of any packaged commodity under the EC Act so that the common man would not be at the mercy of opportunistic traders and shopkeepers.


Q.1 Which government has recently amended the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to bring which item/items under its provision?
a. Paracetamol and N95 surgical masks
b. Hand Sanitizers and Paracetamol
c. Hand Sanitizers and N95 surgical masks
d. Anti-HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir

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