When the Corona crisis struck India, the need of ventilators was much under discussion along with masks, PPE and testing kits. Thankfully, after more than two months, very few Corona infection cases have reached the stage of ventilator support. In any case, ventilators are a permanent asset for hospital infrastructure. Such medical equipment has export potential as well. In these months of crisis, the ‘Make in India’ capability of Indian industries in developing ventilators has seen a remarkable progress.
Ventilators – Make in India Effort is Yielding
The NITI Aayog on June 11, 2020 held an e-conference of ventilator manufacturers and start-ups. It has divulged some information regarding the ventilator development in India since the crisis.
- According to NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Indian manufacturers supplied 60,000 ventilators in 3 months, and we now need to ramp up manufacturing of components to capture the global market.
- Further standardisation for the Indian market is happening by facilitating discussion between six major ventilator manufacturers and the 93 start-ups.
- The next challenge is to make sure that several key components used in building ventilators are also manufactured in India, so that the entire cycle of manufacturing takes place in India.
The NITI Aayog in its twitter handle has featured a ventilator prototype manufactured by AgVa Healthcare which claims to be very affordable in comparison to existing ICU ventilators.
With the help of tech, we can be self-reliant in manufacturing affordable & quality #ventilators. AgVa has provided the first prototype of ventilators for the Indian market.
— NITI Aayog (@NITIAayog) June 11, 2020
How the Administration Backed the Efforts
In early May PM CARES Fund set aside ₹2,000 Crore for the purchase of 50,000 Made in India ventilators.
On May 1, 2020 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare projected a demand of 75,000 ventilators. The availability stood at 19,398 at that point in time. Orders for 60,884 ventilators were placed by HLL Lifecare Limited, a PSU under the aegis of the MoHFW, which is acting as a centralized procurement agency. Out of the total orders placed, 59,884 ventilators have been ordered to domestic manufacturers and imports are to the tune of 1,000 ventilators.
As part of the Make in India initiative, local manufacturers of the ventilators have been identified and guided in meeting the specifications, finalizing the training and other protocols, creating new supply chains, helping them in logistics issues with suppliers and State Governments, and deciding about arrangement of consumables etc. The major domestic players include Bharat Electronics Limited (in collaboration with Skanray) to whom orders for 30,000 ventilators have been placed. AgVa (in collaboration with Maruti Suzuki Limited) to whom orders for 10,000 ventilators have been awarded and AMTZ (AP Medtech Zone) to whom orders for 13,500 ventilators have been placed.
All these efforts have now resulted in the development of an indigenous ventilator manufacturing capacity. In fact, experts involved in this process have said that critical components for ventilators will have a range of linkages for various other sectors where these components can be effectively utilised as well.