Covid-19: Women from rural Maharashtra make 6L masks worth Rs 75 lakh

ByRupsa Chakraborty, Mumbai
Apr 05, 2020 09:29 PM IST

At a time when job-cuts are happening as a result of economic slowdown due to the coronavirus lockdown, around 6,000 women from rural Maharashtra have got an opportunity to earn money by producing masks.

HT Image
HT Image

As the demand for masks has increased by 400%, the State Women Development Corporation (SWDC), along with the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission (MSRLM) have trained the women in making masks following the guidelines of the Union health ministry.

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In the last 15 days, the women have produced over 6 lakh masks worth Rs 75 lakh. Depending on the type of mask, a woman earns Rs 3-4 per unit. One woman makes about 150 masks per day. Three types of masks are produced-- one, two and three-layer-- which are sold at Rs 10, 15 and 20, respectively.

Forty-six-year-old Martha Ratwani earned Rs 7,000 last week for making masks. Her husband recently lost his job as a daily labourer in a wielding factory due to the lockdown. “After my husband lost his job, I was apprehensive as I have two children to feed. But thanks to the government for providing us with an alternative mode of income,” said Ratwani from rural Mumbai.

The SWDC has procured around 3,20,000 masks worth Rs 35 lakh from the women. “Officials from the state health department have trained them in manufacturing the masks following hygiene and safety guidelines. Major part of this training was given through digital platforms,” said Shraddha Joshi Sharma, director,SWDC.

“As most of these women know how to stitch, they have learned quickly. We also do quality checks of the mask,” said she added.

The women were also given gloves and hand sanitizers for manufacturing the masks. As they cannot go out to buy raw materials, the state is supplying them at their doorsteps. “We procure the raw materials from the government accredited vendors. They give us the list of requirements and according on a weekly basis, we give them the materials,” said R Vimala, CEO of MSRLM. Under their scheme, over 3,20,000 masks have been manufactured incurring a sale worth Rs 40 lakh.

But procuring raw material has become a challenge during the lockdown which is also increasing the price of the masks. Though Bhiwandi is considered a textile hub, officers there are also struggling to procure raw materials. “Due to the rise in the demand of raw materials at some places, the masks are being sold at a higher price,” added Sharma.

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