Masks and Hand Sanitizers declared ‘Essential Commodities’

The Government of India notified Masks and Hand Sanitizers under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 by June 30, 2020. The government has made this declaration because most of the vendors have said that these items have gone out of stock.

The government has to take this step because of the current outbreaks of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in India. The government has also issued an advisory under the Legal Metrology Act.

More Powers to States

Under the Essential Commodities Act, states can consult with manufacturers and ask them to increase the production capacity of these goods. However, under the Legal Metrology Act, states can ensure the sale of these two items at the maximum retail price (MRP).

The states can now notify the central government’s order in their official gazette and can also issue their orders under the Essential Commodities Act concerning these two items. The concerned states can take action according to the circumstances there.

Under the Essential Commodities Act, the powers of the Central Government have already been given to the states. Therefore, States and UTs can take action against the violators under the Essential Commodities Act and Prevention of Burglary and Supply of Essential Commodities Act.


A violator can be punished with imprisonment for seven years or with fine or both under the Essential Commodities Act. Under the Prevention of Burglary and Supply of Essential Commodities Act, he can be put under house arrest for a maximum period of 6 months.


States have also been advised to publicize the state consumer helpline for lodging complaints by consumers. In this regard, consumers can make their complaints on the National Consumer Helpline number 1800-11-4000. Online complaints can be made on and email can be sent to and,


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