Sanitary napkins wasn't a part of the list of essential goods until 29 March. Yes, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had to issue an addendum to its order on lockdown rules to explain the list of its essential goods.
This addendum specifies allowing of manufacturing and transport of products like soap and sanitary napkins. In a tweet, Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani clarified that with this letter, sanitary napkins is now an “essential commodity.” This, after concerns were raised over the lack of availability of sanitary napkins.
What does this MHA addendum mean for you? Here’s a quick guide.
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What are essential goods under the new MHA order?
According to the MHA letter to the states, essential items will also now include:
Soaps and detergents
Surface cleaners and disinfectants
Body wash and shampoos
Tissue papers, toothpaste and other oral care products
Battery cells and chargers
What were essential items in the initial MHA order issued when lockdown was announced?
Fruits and vegetables
Rice, wheat flour, other cereals and pulses
Sugar and salt, spices and masalas
Bakery and dairy, including milk and milk products
Tea and coffee
Eggs, meat and fish, food grains, oil
Masala and food ingredients
Packaged food and beverages
Food for special dietary use and food for special medical purpose
Infant and baby food
Animal feed and pet food
Food delivery services and e-commerce for these above mentioned products
Cold storage and warehousing of food products
Fuel such as coal, rice husk, diesel/furnace oil and others necessary to run manufacturing plants and factories
All raw materials, intermediaries, packaging materials needed to support the above products
You can read the rest of the MHA letter here.
Page 1 of the letter by Home Secretary to Chief Secretary of all states.
(Photo: Twitter/Smriti Irani)
Okay, can I go out to buy soap? What about sanitary napkins?
While the MHA letter to the states allows for production and transportation of products like soap and sanitary napkins, whether they are considered “essential goods” to be allowed to venture out during a lockdown is not clarified.
What else does the MHA letter say?
Apart from allowing transportation of all goods, the letter by the Home Ministry's Chief Secretary also says that newspaper delivery supply chains is also allowed. It also clearly states that services of the Red Cross Society and the Employees Provident Fund Organisation are exempt from lockdown restrictions.