At a time when healthcare professionals in India are facing shortage of critical medical equipment and protective gear, it has been alleged that 90 tonnes of medical protective equipment were exported to Serbia.

A tweet by UNDP Serbia confirmed this.

al jazeera

As per a report by NDTV, another such consignment of 30 tonnes was dispatched from Kochi on 29th March. It apparently included 35 lakh pairs of sterile surgical gloves.

After the news of export of protective equipment went viral on social media, people started questioning the government.

Following this, Luv Agrawal, Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry held a press conference and said:

I am not aware of this. I will check and revert with details.
India Today

It is still not clear what kind of equipment and gear the consignment contained, but according to the information provided by sources to India Today, none of the items exported to Serbia were from the ‘prohibited list’.

We have not exported anything from the prohibited list. However, items on the ‘restricted list’ can be sent in a case to case basis depending on the government policies, decisions, prior commitments after assessing info about availability, storage, production capacity, and anticipated demand.

A recent amendment in the export policy put masks, ventilators, textile raw material for masks and coveralls, in the ‘prohibited’ category of items that cannot be exported.

Given that availability and anticipated demand are also some of the criteria, it is questionable how such consignments containing protective medical gear were approved for export.