The government in consultation with the footwear industry on Wednesday decided not to extend the deadline for complying with the mandatory quality standards -- which will come into force on July 1 -- and included MSMEs from the sector into its ambit.
It was also decided to give six more months time to small industries (annual turnover less than Rs 50 crore and investment of Rs 10 crore) for complying with the order and accordingly, it will come into force from January 1, 2024.
Similarly, micro units (annual turnover less than Rs 5 crore) will have to follow these norms from July 1, 2024.
Earlier, MSMEs in the sector were out of the ambit of these orders.
Announcing these decisions, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that these orders would help in increasing the production of quality footwear, exports and establishing Indian brands in the global markets.
"We have decided that the QCOs will be implemented from July 1. The order will come into force from July 1. It was decided not to do any changes in that. No extension will be given and everybody has agreed to that," he told reporters after holding a meeting with the participants of the industry.
The announcement assumes significance as the industry and retailers were intensely lobbying for a one-year extension in the compliance date beyond July 1.
In the leather and footwear sector, the government issued three mandatory quality orders on October 27, 2020. Out of these three, one on protective footwear was already implemented from January 2022 and the remaining would come into force from July 1 this year.
According to the 'Footwear Made from Leather and Other Materials (Quality Control) Order, 2022', which will come into force from July 1, manufacturers have to modify their processes to comply with the new standards.
This includes establishing testing laboratories, obtaining BIS licences, and adhering to the rules for issuing the ISI mark.
Goyal said that there is no mandatory rule for the industry to set up their own testing facilities and the BIS will set up these labs with their fund across the country as per the demand of the industry.
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The minister informed that five products like sports shoes, where the process of framing the QCO is ongoing, will have to implement those orders from January 1, 2024.
Some footwear, which is not covered under any QCO, BIS and industry would work on those in the next 1-1.6 months.
Regarding the old inventories, the minister said that those can be recalled from retailers and sent for ISI certification and the industry should soon start that process.
Regarding testing fees, it was decided to give 80 per cent discounts to government-recognised start-ups and micro units, having less than Rs 5 crore annual turnover.
Representatives from footwear manufacturers, retailers, traders and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) participated in the meeting.
Products under the quality orders cannot be produced, traded or imported without conforming with the Bureau of Indian Standards quality norms and bearing a BIS mark.
The ministry is continuously engaged with BIS and concerned stakeholders for the identification of products for which these orders could be issued.
Earlier, the department rolled out these Quality Control Orders for a host of goods such as toys, household refrigerating appliances, certain steel and cable items, toys, and bicycles' retro-reflective devices.