New Delhi, Nov 24 The Steel Ministry plans to introduce ‘Made in India’ labelling across export offerings by March 2024, almost a year after the original deadline  . 

All the integrated steel players (ISPs), after initial hesitation, are now on board, according to a Ministry document accessed by businessline

Pilots surrounding the initiative are expected to start in November .

Initially, CPSE major The Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Jindal Stainless Ltd will take part in the pilots, sources said. Originally due in February, the pilots were delayed on account of “technical issues,” including label design issues. 

Branding for India-made steel has been a project idea of the PMO. 

A Ministry official said the branding scheme will be carried out in two phases - in phase 1, integrated steel players will label their offerings for roll-out by March 2024; phase 2, which will roll-out at a later date, will cover specialised steel makers. 

Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia chaired the Consultative Committee meeting on Thursday and finalised the details, including timelines for the roll-out. 

“A first-of-a-kind initiative for an Indian Ministry, labelling and branding will ensure standardised products made by all our ISPs (integrated steel players), “ Scindia wrote on the micro-blogging site X (formerly Twitter). 

A letter from the Ministry read: “The process of system integration has been successfully completed by all ISPs with the Quality Council of India (QCI). The ISPs are now ready to go live with fixing of Made in India labels on their products.” 

“The Minister has directed that companies may commence the roll-out from November onwards. A formal launch function is planned shortly, “ it said. 

Working with QCI  

The Ministry worked closely with QCI, which created a platform for generation of QR codes. In a November 2022 meeting attended by the Commerce Ministry, the QCI was granted two months to get the QR codes ready. 

Label designing, size and content were created by the NID (National Institute of Design), financial approval was received in May, and a study report presented by July, documents from the Steel Ministry show. 

Bringing ISPs on-board

The Ministry on-boarded ISPs in a phased manner.

Different deadlines and time frames were set across major brands on issues such as software integration, testing and data exchange with API, registration with QCI and its IT systems., testing in the product, label procurement and final checks before roll-out. The phase-wise break-up saw ISPs such as Tata, Jindal Steel & Power, JSW Steel and AMNS India, come on-board. 

Documents accessed by businessline show that SAIL, for instance, will complete testing & data exchange with API between August 10 and October 3; registration with QCI to be done by September 13, label procurement by October 3, and so on. Pilots with SAIL were to go live by October, which have been pushed back to November-December, officials said. 

Initial plans of the Ministry show HR coil exports across  players, including JSL, Jindal Steel & Power, JSW, SAIL, AMNS India and Tata are to be branded, while cold-rolled coil exports for all barring Jindal Steel & Power will be branded. For Tata Steel, Jindal Steel & Power and RINL wire rods are to be branded. 

“ISPs will progressively increase their product range with the Made in India label, “ an official said.