The All India Steel Bottles Association applauds the Indian government’s commendable step in introducing Quality Control Orders (QCO) for stainless steel vacuum-insulated water bottles and portable stainless steel water bottles. As the industry faces challenges, this move aligns with ‘Make in India,’ ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat,’ and broader goals for a ‘Swasth Bharat’ and sustainable environment. This initiative has the potential to generate approximately 25,000 new jobs, predominantly in the MSME sector, which also boasts a substantial women employment base. The industry’s commitment to quality and adherence to BIS standards has positioned India competitively on the global stage, with hopes of increased export volumes shortly.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has played a crucial role in setting stringent quality standards across various industries, witnessing significant benefits in sectors like Toys, ACs, Helmets, Footwear, and 387 others. (Source) This has not only guaranteed product reliability but has also spurred innovation in vital sectors crucial for India’s technological advancement.
The All India Steel Bottles Association, representing the voice of the industry, underlines the critical need for the non-extension of the QCO implementation date. As of the current date, numerous manufacturing units have obtained the necessary licenses, with others actively in the application process. However, the import lobby has requested a six-month extension on the BIS implementation, raising concerns among domestic manufacturers. This potential delay could lead to inefficiencies, jeopardizing investments and creating market imbalances with low-quality imports. The livelihoods of over 30% of the workforce, predominantly women, stand at risk due to the surge in imports, impacting their employment opportunities.
Mr. Bharat Agarwal, Director of Crown Craft, a leading player in the industry and a representative of the association, emphasized the industry’s gratitude, stating, “We need to thank the government for bringing in the QCO, which, when implemented, will give a lifeline to our industry and offer Indian consumers better quality products. It’s a very positive move. Indian companies already have installed capacities ready to replace import volumes immediately, showcasing our dedication to meeting the BIS standards. An extension would be a punishment to manufacturers who have diligently equipped themselves with the right materials and stocks compliant with BIS standards, assuming that non-BIS products would not be allowed for sale after January 14, 2024”
“The only beneficiaries will be importers who promote the marketing of cheap and substandard Chinese products, undermining the efforts of those invested in producing quality goods adhering to BIS standards.”, Agarwal added.
Mr. Vedant Padia, Director of Placero International Pvt. Ltd, stated, “China’s influx of low-quality products at lower rates poses a severe threat to MSME manufacturers. The raw material costs for stainless steel sheets have surged in the domestic market due to the stoppage of imports, making it difficult for domestic manufacturers to compete with imported finished products. International stainless steel raw material prices have decreased, while domestic prices have increased due to QCO on raw materials. Despite these challenges, India’s MSMEs have showcased the capacity to match domestic requirements. From having only one vacuum-insulated manufacturer from 2007 to 2017, the leadership and guidance of Prime Minister Modi Ji led the industry to witness the establishment of 20 factories in 5 years. However, compared to China, with over 10,000 factories employing over a million people, India’s MSMEs are still far from reaching that scale.”
Anticipating the positive impact of BIS implementation, Mr. Pedia expressed confidence, “As soon as BIS is implemented, we are sure more factories in India will reach at least 100 within 1-2 years. Existing manufacturers will expand capacities to not only achieve large-scale production but also become quality producers for India and the world.”
Mr. Vikas Jain, Director of Nanobot Housewares Solutions, expressed confidence in the burgeoning growth of the industry, stating, “Presently, the installed capacity in India stands at an amount exceeding Rs 800 crores, with further expansion initiatives projected to elevate it to approximately Rs 1000 crores by 15th January 2024. Ancillary units have also made substantial investments to bolster their capacities, with a collective commitment of approximately Rs 1000 crores. In the preceding year, the tentative import value was recorded at Rs 600 crores, while the domestic production amounted to around 130 crores, culminating in an approximate Indian consumption of Rs 730 crores. As the industry witnesses this significant growth, the association echoes the collective sentiment of industry leaders, urging stakeholders to support the timely implementation of BIS QCO for stainless steel water bottles.”
Rakesh Jain, Director of Atlas Metal Processors Pvt Ltd, added his perspective, stating, “The BIS QCO is a crucial step towards establishing industry-wide standards. This initiative not only ensures the production of high-quality stainless steel bottles but also promotes fair competition among manufacturers, ultimately benefiting the end consumer.
The industry calls upon stakeholders, policymakers, and influencers to support the timely implementation of BIS QCO, ensuring a thriving and competitive environment, especially for the MSME sector.