Metal container manufacturers have asked the government to drop the steel and steel products quality control order (QCO) for the time being. The order affected a majority of MSMEs in metal container manufacturing using tinplate steel.
Metal container manufacturers have asked the government to drop the steel and steel products quality control order (QCO) for the time being. The order to impose mandatory BIS certification was issued by the Ministry of Steel in July and involved units to go for BIS certification for major materials like tinplate, tin-free steel.
Additionally, the order had imposed restrictions on various steel products like easy-open ends and peel off ends.
The order affected a majority of MSMEs in metal container manufacturing using tinplate steel. The processed food packaging industry is affected because of the shortage of tinplate/ tin free steel that is extensively used to manufacture cans and containers to pack processed food and fruits. Many of the small players have pointed out that the Government is not able to meet the demand.
Added to that was the capacity crunch faced during Covid. What is most important is that it was virtually impossible to force the international suppliers for BIS certifications since the procedure of BIS registration is cumbersome, according to the industry association Metal Container Manufacturers Association.
The association has requested Government to defer the notification till March 31, 2022. “Considering Covid-19 situation with restriction on movements in and out of the country including International travel, MCMA also recommended to defer this notification till March 2022,” the association said in a note.
Sanjay Bhatia, president, MCMA, said, “Problem is about the demand versus supply gap. The gap also includes the material used for non-critical products which have been filled from imports. While we are not against the BIS order, where will we get the material from? Foreign companies, which have applied for registration with BIS since last July 2020, didn’t see any movement by BIS due to Covid. Normally for approval of a plant, somebody from BIS has to physically inspect the plant for standards followed and after that, it is approved. This process involves 7-10-month time. We are requesting the government to differ the order till 31 March 2022 so that the businesses’ supply line is not affected.”
The sector faces a significant demand-supply gap for the major raw material, to the extent of 2.5 lakh tonnes per annum, which is met through imports. According to MCMA, local mills have an annual rated capacity of about 7 lakh tonnes but they have never been able to produce more than 4 to 4.5 lakh tonnes.