The government will come up with as many as 58 quality control orders (QCOs) for products such as aluminium, copper items and household electrical appliances in the next six months, in a move aimed at containing import of the sub-standard goods and boost domestic industry, a senior government official said. The department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) is working hard to promote manufacturing of high quality products in the country.
“Since 1987, only 34 QCOs have been issued. But now we are coming up with 58 QCOs in the next six months. The main objective is to stop import of sub-standard goods. These mandatory norms will be for domestic and foreign players,” Joint Secretary in the DPIIT Sanjiv told PTI. There will be 315 product standards under these orders. The items, under these orders, cannot be produced, sold/traded, imported and stocked unless they bear the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) mark.
“These QCOs will be notified within a year after following due process,” he added. He said that the move would also help in providing global markets for domestic goods. In order to facilitate smooth implementation of these orders, particularly for micro and small industries, provisions for additional time periods to get BIS licences and upgrade their testing facilities are being contemplated, he added.
Similarly, exemption to very micro units (investment in plant and machinery up to Rs 25 lakh) is being contemplated on a case to case basis. “With the notification of CCOs, manufacturing, storing and sale of non-BIS certified products are prohibited as per the BIS Act 2016,” the official said.
The violation of the law can attract a penalty of up to two years of imprisonment or with fine of at least Rs 2 lakh for the first offence which increases to Rs 5 lakh minimum for the second and subsequent offences.
Recently, BIS has confiscated 18,600 non-BIS certified toys during raids on several retailers including Hamleys, Wh Smith, Archies and Kids Zone in malls, airports and markets. These orders are issued by the department in consonance with the WTO (World Trade Organisation) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) for industries falling under its domain.
The agreement recognises that no country should be prevented from taking measures necessary to ensure the quality of its exports or for the protection of human, animal or plant life or health, of the environment, or for the prevention of deceptive practices. As a policy, the standards formulation of BIS has been harmonised as far as possible with the relevant standards as laid down by the International Organisation for Standardisation/International Electrotechnical Commission.
The standard issued for any product is for voluntary compliance unless it is notified by the central government to make it mandatory through issuance of technical regulations primarily through notification of QCOs and compulsory registration order (CRO) of BIS conformity assessment regulations, 2018. As on March 1 this year, BIS has issued about 22,228 standards, out of which 9,774 are product standards. Till date, only 404 standards have been made mandatory through notification of QCO/CRO.
Saniv said that QCO for toys has changed the face of that sector. Due to the quality norms for toys, imports of toys have reduced significantly and exports have jumped. The country’s toy exports have touched Rs 1,017 crore during April-December period this fiscal, according to the government data. In 2021-22, the exports stood at Rs 2,601 crore. During April-December 2013-14, the shipments were at Rs 167 crore. In 2018-19, toys worth Rs 2,960 crore were imported into India. The overall import of toys in India reduced by 70 per cent to Rs 870 crore in 2021-22.
These orders would help in promoting sale of quality products through the ONDC (open network for digital commerce) protocol, being framed by the DPIIT. During April-January this fiscal, India’s imports rose to USD 602.2 billion as against USD 494 billion in the same period previous year.