With the July 3 deadline for certification of electronics goods looming over the IT hardware sector, the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) has expressed concerns over the slow implementation progress by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). MAIT has also said that if the deadline is not extended, a severe supply shortage could strike the market.

The Compulsory Registration Order 2012, issued by the Government of India, makes it mandatory for all electronic product manufacturers to ensure that their products are BIS standards compliant, failing which the products will be barred from the Indian market.

The government order lists products under 15 categories, including video games, laptops, notebooks, tablets and plasma/LCD/LED televisions, microwaves, printers and scanners, telephone answering machines and electronic music systems. The products are to be tested for their quality, safety and health implications under Indian conditions.

Stating that the industry is ready to comply with this standard as it will help curb low quality imports, MAIT President JV Ramamurthy told The Hindu, “So far we have received certification for only two of the 1,500 products submitted for review. The deadline is just a fortnight away.”

The initial deadline for implementation of the order was April 3, which was extended by three months to July 3 at the request of Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT). But even this deadline is not likely to be met as the industry body has said implementation process by the BIS is too slow.

If the issue is not resolved or the government does not further extend the deadline, the industry would not be able to import or sell any products after July 3.

The delay in certification is due to lack of testing labs, frequent changes in guidelines and missing technical details that needed to be addressed, Mr. Ramamurthy said, adding that BIS has not yet finalized the parameters to test for many of the high-end products.

The BIS has taken three months to clear two products (a Samsung printer and a Sony LCD TV), the industry body claimed, adding that sector would suffer huge losses if the deadline is not extended. He added that once BIS certifies a product, the manufacturing company would also need at least 4-5 weeks to put the certification sticker on every box with the product.

Mr. Ramamurthy said the industry body is batting for a further extension of the deadline, this time by 6 months.

“We are already updating the government on the process. They are contemplating extending deadline by 3 months. We believe it needs to be pushed by 6 months. The government could also consider sending a provisional certificate for products to the customs stating that the products have been submitted to the BIS, so that imports are not hindered," Mr. Ramamurthy said.

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