The footwear industry has written to the Centre expressing its concerns over the BIS standards to be implemented on all kinds of footwear manufacturing saying that it welcomes the government’s quality checks but believes that the current standards and implementation directions are not scientific.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has introduced Quality Control Orders making BIS standard compulsory for all kinds of Footwear. However, three types of products — Hawai Chappals, Sandals and Slippers and Sports Shoe are exempted till December 31, 2023.
Though the footwear industry is not against implementing quality standards on products, the industry believes that the current standards and implementation directions are not scientific. Here’s why:
BIS has published one standard for Sports Footwear – General Purpose. But this standard is the same for an injection mould PVS shoe which will cost Rs 300 in the market and for sports shoes made by multinational companies costing Rs 10,000.
Similarly, Hawai Chappal has the same standard for a non-branded product costing Rs 100 and a branded product costing Rs 1000. A kids’ footwear made of soft EVA sheet and a direct moulded PU footwear have the same standard.
The industry points out that there are many other such issues in testing, in procedures etc. Moreover 75 per cent of the Indian Footwear Industry is from unorganised sector and the sector employs about 44.2 lakhs people as per a Government study.
The majority of this unorganised sector are in the MSME sector and they will not be able to follow BIS if the standards are not scientifically fixed and simplified. The end result will be closure of the entire MSME and only the existence of a handful of organised and many multinational players.
The industry believes the following matters must be considered and quick action taken to save the MSMEs from losing out.
MSME FOOTWEAR SECTOR ACTION COUNCIL raises key concerns
- The Footwear Industry is not against Quality Standards.
- The current standards and Implementation procedures are not scientific or practical and need immediate correction.
- Micro and Small companies were exempted from BIS by the Government before. The industry requests to continue the exemption for micro and small units from these Quality Control Orders as before.
- A time of 2-3 years should be given to all Industries till BIS brings out proper standards which can cover product category, product price, process of manufacturing and raw material used in manufacturing. The most important thing is to understand that time is required to build sufficient infrastructure by BIS or other organisations for testing and implementation and also for assuring availability of suitable raw materials which will conform to BIS Standards.
- Enforcement of BIS should not be retrospective. It should be applicable only on the products manufactured after the final date implementation of BIS and not on goods manufactured before the BIS implementation date. This avoids a huge waste of products and losses in the industry.