The organisation said while it appreciates the support given by the government by providing a three-month extension, this will not be helpful at all. “The Rs 10,000-crore metal packaging industry has already been reeling under pressure as they have hardly any option left to secure raw material as most of the global players and suppliers of tinplate/ tin-free steel have preferred to keep out India from supplying raw material in the wake of imposition of BIS standards, the organisation said.
Also, the cases of Covid 19 have surged and possibilities of lockdown all over in India and short working hours due to the curfew have pushed the industry further in the dark adding to the already acute shortage of raw material.
According to MCMA, this non-extension of QCO will not only affect the metal packaging industry involved primarily in the MSME sector but also pharma, food and beverages industry, who are completely dependent on the packaging industry.
Furthermore, there is already a huge demand-supply gap of raw material used for packaging food and other items. It has resulted in an exorbitant increase in prices of packaging items. The metal/tin containers and closures are mostly used for packing of edible and non-edible items. The tin-free steel is majorly used to manufacture closures, crowns, and components used to seal bottles for soft drinks, beer, juices and flavoured milk, etc.
This industry which is largely dependent upon the import of tinplate/ tin-free steel from various countries is under tremendous pressure with the shortage of raw material and the prices have escalated almost 30-40% in addition to serious issue of availability of inputs.
India’s primary organisation that represents the interests of companies involved in the production of metal containers, packaging and allied components, Metal Container Manufacturers’ Association (MCMA), urged the government to put on hold the implementation of steel and steel products Quality Control Order dated 17 July, 2020 Norms. The association requested the ministry of steel to postpone the implementation of the QCO till sufficient quantity of tinplate/ tin-free steel is produced locally to meet the industries demand of 700,000-tonnes per annum as the industry is already under pressure due to the pandemic and the second wave of the pandemic with lockdown being implement in few states will only worsen the situation.
The association had also requested the ministry to allow use of ISO-certified materials in addition to BIS-certified material. MCMA requested the ministry to allow the use of materials which are aligned to ISO. The same has been included in FSSAI order and also recommended by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).