The Consumer Affairs Ministry has brought in formal notification for exclusion of readymade garments sold in loose form at retail stores from the ambit of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules. Such products will need to display certain information for the benefit of consumers such as the name of manufacturer, MRP and country of origin, among others. The industry bodies said, this move is expected to bring in much needed regulatory clarity for the apparel and hosiery manufacturers and retailers.
In the past, the Ministry have issued advisories to provideclarity on this matter but, industry bodies such as Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) and Federation of Hosiery Manufacturers Association (FOHMA) had been urging the Centre to create solid regulations to remove ambiguity in interpretation at the state level.
As per the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) (Third Amendment) Rules, 2022, garment or hosiery products that are sold in loose or in the open, at the point of sale, in a manner that the customer can inspect the products before buying, will be excluded from the ambit of Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules. Provided that, such products shall bear certain details including name and address of the “manufacturer or marketer or brand owner or importer with country of origin.” Such readymade garments should also display consumer care email id and phone number and Maximum Retail Price inclusive of taxes in Indian currency.
In addition, the garments should bear information regarding “sizes with internationally recognisable size indicators such as S, M, L, XL, XXL and XXXL along with details in metric notation in terms of cm or m, as the case may be.”
Much needed clarity
Rahul Mehta, Chief Mentor and Past President, CMAI said the notification gives a clear definition of “loose” garments as those that can be inspected by consumers at the point of purchase.“ This clarifies that, goods being in a packed form for safety or hygiene consideration during storage and transit before it reaches the point of purchase will not be considered as ‘packed,” Mehta added.
The industry bodies have been making representations for several years on this issue. “This step will go a long way in ease of doing business for the garment and retail industry. It addresses a long standing grievance of the industry and will hopefully minimise and even eliminate the Inspector harassment faced by the industry,” said Rajesh Masand, President, CMAI.
The Ministry’s notification added that this exemption is only for “finished goods” and the said the information “shall be displayed on e-commerce website if such a product is sold through e-commerce.” The amendments will come into effect from January 1. “ Provided also that any manufacturer or packer or importer may, notwithstanding the date of commencement of this clause, declare the above information with immediate effect,” the notification added.