India has notified to the WTO of its intention to come up with a quality control order (QCO) for 12 items made of protective textile including protective clothing and gloves, bullet resistance jackets, high-visibility warning clothes and water-proof multi-purpose rain ponchos.

The QCO, which makes Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification mandatory for sale of the identified items in the domestic market, is aimed at ensuring health and safety of consumers but also plays an important role in curbing cheap imports.

“The final date for comments (from WTO members) is sixty days from the date of notification,” per the notification made to the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of the WTO.

Protective textile is a technical textile which has protective attributes like extending protection from extreme heat and cold, hazardous chemicals, germs and ballistic including projectiles of various shapes, sizes, and impact velocities.

To be implemented in six months

The draft Protective Textiles (Quality Control) Order, 2022, to be published in the Gazette of India, does not yet have a proposed date of adoption but is to be implemented six months after it is adopted.

The QCO for the 12 protective textile items is part of the Textiles Ministry’s larger plan of bringing a total 107 technical textiles items under the ambit of quality control. Those in the pipeline include 19 geo-tech items, 22 agro-tech items and 6 medi-tech items, according to the Textile Ministry.

 A total 48 items of medi-tech are already covered under Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) regulation.

Over 500 BIS standards have already been developed on technical textiles while BIS is working on developing 40 more such standards as per requirement of industry.

The Centre is also trying to push domestic manufacture of technical textiles through the Production Linked Incentive scheme.