BIS certification becomes mandatory for Indian toy industry, stakeholders want more time
New Delhi/IBNS: The Indian toy industry, through their apex body, All India Toys Federation (AITF) have requested the Union government to reconsider the time frame for the mandatory certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which goes into force from September 1, 2020.
Although the Federation and the industry as a whole are happy that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed confidence in the sector’s potential to become a global hub, most indigenous stakeholders believe they need more time to meet the certification norms.
In his August 30 ‘Mann ki Baat’ edition Prime Minister Modi had said that "India is home to several toy clusters and thousands of artisans who produce indigenous toys. These toys don't only have cultural connect, but also help build psycho-motor and life-skills among children at an early age."
Said Abdullah Sharif, Vice President, AITF, "We are happy and encouraged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking about the toy industry. PM Modi said India should become the global hub for toy manufacturing, but it would take some more time to achieve that.”
The Indian toy industry, like many other sectors, is currently struggling with a large-scale slump in demand and issues stemming from economic uncertainties.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shortage in the supply of toys to the Indian market, according to the federation.
From September 1, all toy manufacturers and importers need a valid BIS licence to continue to manufacture and import new toys.
The AITF is apprehensive that toy MSMEs, facing a financial crunch, would not be able to adhere to these standards right away.
According to Sharif, the industry needs an additional 18-24 months to ensure that all micro, small, and medium toy enterprises can rise to this challenge.
"We fear that such measures can hinder PM Modi's vision, causing smaller units to shut down. We'd be left with only big MNCs, who will sell expensive branded toys in their store chains," Sharif said.
The federation has proposed a Scheme II for toys.
"In such a scheme, we request BIS accredited labs to test our goods up to BIS standards rather than leaving us to set up such labs on our own. We also need an overhaul in terms of investments in tooling, moulds, and new talent in toy design and development," said Sharif.
According to the federation, very few domestic and nearly none of the foreign toy manufacturers have been able to apply for the required BIS certification, due to multiple clauses.
The current process to get a BIS certification is a time-consuming process, where manufacturers need to wait for 120 days.
For foreign manufacturers, this time frame goes up to 180 days.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected India's manufacturing strength at all levels, including the toy industry.
Local and international travel restrictions have put curbs on the movement of workers, resources, and finished products at all levels, including toymakers.