Policy

Govt to mandate BIS certification for safety of machinery; move to curb Chinese imports

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on August 02, 2020 Published on August 02, 2020

But the regulations may be hard for domestic MSMEs to follow

In a move that could slow down large-scale imports of machinery and equipment from China, the Department of Heavy Industries is planning to soon come out with ‘Omnibus Technical Regulations’ for Safety of Machinery in India making it mandatory for both imported and indigenous items to obtain certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

Senior officials from the DHI are holding the last round of consultations with stakeholders, including various chambers and councils, and efforts are on to put the regulations in the public domain within a short time, an official aware of the developments told BusinessLine.

“While the technical regulations will make it more difficult for imports to flow in from China because of the mandatory BIS certification, the flip side is that the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, too, may find it difficult to strictly follow the regulations,” the official said.

Safe manufacturing

The BIS recently said it is framing mandatory quality standards for 371 items identified by the Commerce Ministry and the process will be completed by March 2021. Compulsory standards and testing have already been announced for a number of steel items and toys which has led to protests from trade partners such as the European Union.

Once the technical regulations for machinery are in place, the identified items cannot be manufactured, imported, sold or distributed, without conforming to the specified standards and compulsorily need to bear the ‘machinery safety mark’ specified by the (BIS), the official explained.

The technical regulations will be designed to make manufacturing activities safer in the country by preventing loss of lives and injures, apart from serving the dual purpose of discouraging exports from China. “Since safety certifications obtained outside the country will not be acceptable and imports will have to be tested all over again in Indian labs for qualifying for BIS licences, the move will serve as a disincentive for imports,” the official explained.

In 2019-20, India imported electrical machinery and parts worth $19 billion from China, which was around a third of its total imports worth $65 billion from the country.

Some in the industry are worried that as the new standards would also be applicable on domestic industry, the MSME sector may find it difficult to adhere to these as many may not understand these fully and their cost of operations, too, will go up.

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Published on August 02, 2020
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