The commerce and industry ministry has identified the top user ministries that deal with most imported products. These are the telecom, chemicals, industry and heavy industry departments and the ministries of steel, and electronics and information technology (IT). Quality control orders and technical regulations are being deliberated for these sectors.
Exercise to be Expedited
The move has gained momentum as the government is of the view that only stringent standards will be effective in containing cheaper imports, particularly from China, instead of just higher tariffs, a move that has gained importance following border tensions.
“There are certain sectors where imports are large and unnecessary as the country has capacity,” the official said. “Quality control standards will ensure cheaper, low-quality products do not enter the country.”
Another official said the exercise already underway will now be speeded up.
Toys, furniture, sports goods and glass items are some of the products in a list of about 370 for which technical standards have been in the works since late last year.
India’s FY20 imports amounted to $467.19 billion and its trade deficit was $152.88 billion.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has drawn up quality control orders for about 20 products and will cover more items in the next few months.
Listing More Products
“As per the scheme, every ministry has to come out with the products on which quality checks are required. We will bring out orders for 40-50 more products this year,” said an official.
The scheme is part of the ongoing programme of the commerce and industry ministry and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to stem substandard imports, most of which come from China.
The steel ministry last month issued quality control orders for more than 100 items, including galvanised steel sheets, carbon steel cast billet ingots, cold rolled non-oriented electrical steel sheet and strip, fire resistant steel and stainless steel wires.
DPIIT recently issued quality control norms for butterfly valves in a move to contain imports and end the production of poor-quality products in the country. China is the largest exporter of various kinds of valves to India. In the April-February period of FY20, India imported valves worth $187.92 million from that country.
Valves will have to “conform to the corresponding Indian standard… and bear the standard mark under a licence from the Bureau of Indian Standards,” DPIIT said in the order, which will be effective January 1, 2021.
The department had in January issued quality norms to control imports of steel tubes, tubulars and other wrought steel fittings, steel tubes for structural purposes and water wells, along with heavy duty electric cables, aerial bunched cables, elastomer insulated cables, welding cables, shot firing cables and halogen-free, flame retardant cables. The order will come into force on August 1.