Channapatna and Kinnal toy makers in a bind over BIS certification rule

Channapatna toys displayed at a shop on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway in Ramanagaram district.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

In under three months, toy makers in Channapatna and Kinnal, like many other traditional toy makers in the country, should register themselves for Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification and their products should carry the BIS mark. But on the ground, most artisans are not aware of the new rules. And those who do know it say the process is expensive for the kind of business they are involved in.

In an effort to make toys safe, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry had notified the Toys (Quality Control) Order, 2020, making it compulsory for toy makers to secure BIS certification. The use of BIS Standard Mark as per the BIS (Conformity Assessment) Regulations, 2018 is compulsory. The manufacturer has to seek a separate licence for each toy he produces, and the licence is issued after testing. While the earlier deadline to conform to the new norms was September 1, 2020, the Union government extended it by four months.

While the awareness among manufacturers of the GI-registered Channapatna toys, which is a cottage industry, is poor, many artisans to whom The Hindu spoke to were ignorant of the new rule and expressed an inability to undergo the certification process because of the costs involved. Besides Channapatna toys, artisans at Kinnal village in Koppal also make traditional toys that are protected under GI.

“Nobody has so far told us about the certification and we are not aware of it. Our toy making is a small-scale industry. We are already in debt because of the lockdown and slowdown in the market. Where will we get the money for certification?” asked artisan Samiullah, of Zoya Handicrafts. “In fact, when we take our products to the showroom, we have to beg for payment, which will be a few hundred rupees.” In fact, the government should get us certification for the industry to survive, Mr. Samiullah added.

Old-timers recall how the number of artisans, which was upwards of 20,000 just over two decades ago, has now dwindled to less than 1,000. “If certification becomes mandatory, most may move out of the craft. We have not reported good business for nearly a year,” another artisan said.

On Monday, urging the Centre to withdraw the order in order to protect traditional toy makers, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who also represents Channapatna Assembly constituency, tweeted, “To get the BIS certification, artisans have to spend thousands of rupees. This order will hit the traditional toy-making industry. Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appreciated the Channapatna toys in his Mann Ki Baat, these decisions will only help big industries.”

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 2:16:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/channapatna-and-kinal-toy-makers-in-a-bind-over-bis-certification-rule/article32895929.ece

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