BIS stipulations for IT products like license raj: MAIT

Fresh labelling requirements and new processes spelt out by the Bureau of Industrial Standards (BIS) have raised protests from IT hardware nodal body Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology (MAIT). 

“Just when IT (industry) is on a growth vortex and is realigning strategies for capacity building, the IT industry faces fresh challenges in the form of labeling requirements, augmented fee structures, standardization of processes and surveillance norms enacted by the BIS. These series of fresh notifications by BIS disrupts manufacturing plans, increases costs and interrupts the global supply chain,” MAIT Executive Director Anwar Shirpurwala said on Thursday.

The BIS notification stipulates that the font size of letters of statement relating to IT products should be 12 or one-fourth the size of the brand name. However, the industry feels that the size requirements are impractical, especially for smaller products. 

BIS is understood to have mandated adherence to its new product and packaging guidelines for the industry with effect from April 4. 

Shirpurwala said that the new labelling requirements proposed by BIS are unworkable as they are in contrast to global prerequisites. “Indian companies cannot change the entire production line to incorporate the new requirements. BIS is not consulting the Industry prior to issuing new product guidelines. The notice period is not enough to comply with the new guidelines,” Shirpurwala said.

He noted that new changes in product guidelines, internal or external, usually require 10-12 weeks because changes have to be incorporated in the manufacturing processes; production schedules need to be shifted to embark global supply chains and BIS needs to understand these timelines before levying labeling requirements on companies. “Industry will be more than happy to help BIS understand the nuances of such complex processes provided they have prior consultations with us,” Shirpurwala said.

MAIT President Amar Babu said manufacturers across the world use printed stickers. “BIS could have consulted the industry on best practices rather than asking companies to comply with a regulatory framework. Even if the framework is postponed to July, it is impossible to meet such deadlines. If an ISI mark on a water bottle goes well with a label sticker, why does BIS want an IT product embossed?” Babu asked.

He said implementation of such specifications will require at least 24 weeks, adding that most IT products are changing their models so fast that it has become common practice to use stickers rather than screen printed, embossed or engraved labels. “Most products are manufactured in multiple factories and production cycles are constantly shifting. Preparing tooling for ‘embossed or engraved’ in a multiple factory setting would be time consuming and extend timelines drastically,” Babu said.

The industry body suggested that if BIS wants to still enforce ‘screen printed, embossed or engraved’ labels on products, it may enforce a small logo mark such as the ISI mark and remove size requirements. It has also proposed that BIS allow an initial production period with stickers, and implement the sticker labelling requirement only on product models with numbers smaller than 10,000 units.

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