It`s Here .....BIS Certification For Steel In India
This is a topic that one can call glocal. Today it is India, tomorrow it could be anywhere else in the world. And it does have implications for steel exporters across the globe.
Is the legislation "Stealth protectionism" or is it an "Enlightened legislation"? The answer is not simple. In all fairness the legislation needs to be studied in depth and passing simplistic judgements will not help.
Firstly it was to have come into effect in 2007, there were extensions and finally now it will come into effect from February 12. If you have been caught napping, you cannot really blame anyone....the notification has been online at bis.org.in for quite some time and the authorities have done their duty.
It may hurt us in the short term but greater professionalism is the need of the hour within the steel industry and we need to ensure quality steel is utilized by the industry.
Unfortunately the legislation has several ambiguities which will result in delays in import clearance, selective interpretation by authorities and dealers/importers and a atmosphere of uncertainty.
The cost of getting BIS certification for a foreign manufacturer is exorbitant This certainly needs to be revised. Domestic or international standards being followed by the foreign manufacturers should be recognized by the BIS authorities. Payment for visit of inspectors from India may not be viable for manufacturers and it would add to the cost of doing business in India. The period of certification is also very short.
The legislation also does not spell out the documents that need to be maintained for certification. It just mentions that the authorities will need access to documents and records.
According to us, instead of opposing the legislation, the steel community should work with the authorities to seek clarity, fairness and smooth implementation.
Our suggestions would be:
- a six month transition period be granted.
- Manufacturers` ISO certificates, test certificates be accepted for grant of BIS certification
- Allow tests to be carried out domestically to ensure the product meets BIS Standards
- laboratories be appointed near the major ports and ICDs by the authorities
- the legislation along with the clarifications, laboratories be widely advertised in newspapers.
The authorities should also understand that many steel specs are not produced in India and there is a huge steel using industry as well that needs to be heard.
Finally, the domestic steel manufacturing industry should also follow the BIS requirements in letter and spirit.
Are we asking for too much? Next few months will be interesting as the steel community grapples with this issue and comes to term with this legislation.