The Centre has empowered states to declare hand sanitizers and masks as essential commodities and advised them to take suitable steps, including persuading manufacturers to increase production of the two items, which have suddenly gone out of stocks amid the ourtbreak of Covid-19.
"The decision (to bring the two items under EC Act) would empower the states to regulate production, quality, distribution of masks (2 ply and 3 ply surgical, N95) and hand sanitizers to smoothen the sale and availability of these items. It would also help states carry out operations against hoarders, speculators and those involved in over pricing and black marketing," the consumer affairs ministry said in a statement.
Officials in the ministry said they did not want to enforce it from the Centre and the EC Act has enough power to control price rise which the state governments can effectively manage. The Centre has also issued advisory to states to implement the legal metrology law and enforce these items are sold at their maximum retail prices (MRPs).