Anticipating an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the Indian authority has reportedly contacted China for the import of essential medical supplies. The 1-day lockdown period announced by the central government is expected to end on the 14th of April.
According to official sources, the supplier demand for the Chinese medical supplies has surged in the past weeks as more and more countries are being engulfed in the novel coronavirus outbreak. Countries like Italy, France, Spain, and the United States that are at a critical phase of the outbreak, they are ready to grab the medical supplies coming from China. China had manufactured a large scale of masks and personal protective equipment anticipating a massive surge in the infections. As the pandemic in the Communist Party-led China is under control, China is positioned to export the essential medical gears.
Few Problems For India
India is hampered with two problems – a massive amount of funds to undertake the import and the procedural rigidity of the Indian establishment. According to the experts, there isn’t a dearth of money because of the newly created PM Cares fund, a billion-dollar funding from the World Bank and even the Asian developmental bank. The issue, however, is the rigidity of the process.
At a time like this, where the demand for the consignment is increasing and the clock ticking on the patients’ lives, India cannot afford to call for tenders and allow the auditors to nitpick the tenders. Currently, the suppliers who are selling the essential medical gears expect money upfront before delivering the consignment which, if India pursues, will be an unprecedented step.
According to the officials, the prices too have surged dramatically. A mask that would usually cost less than a dollar is now sold for $4-$6 per mask. The officials also revealed that anticipating the demand in India, the Indian missions in China were advised to stockpile from Chinese suppliers before in hand. The Indian government will zero in on 20 companies shortlisted by the Chinese government who will be the primary suppliers. This is to avoid any faulty materials and to ensure quality and transparency.