Metal packaging industry expresses grave concern to the ministry

The 10,000-crore metal packaging industry has been left paralysed as the government maintains its silence on their request for the extension on the Quality Control Order (QCO) dated 17 July, which now stands implemented.

09 Aug 2021 | By Rahul Kumar

This has been extremely distressing for the players in the sector as they have no channel to procure raw material as most of the global players and suppliers of tinplate/ tin-free steel have raised their hands to supply to India in the wake of imposition of BIS standards.

The Metal Container Manufacturers’ Association (MCMA) has constantly been pressing the government highlighting the low-spirited phase the industry is going through and has been requesting for extension on the implementation of Steel and steel products Quality Control Order dated 17 July 2020. The association, keeping in line with its earlier request yet again, urges the government to reconsider and re-evaluate its decision to postpone the implementation of the QCO.

Currently, India doesn’t manufacture open ends, peel-off ends, etc components which are also covered in the QCO. Industry is dependent on imports and industry is also unable to import due to BIS. So, it needs time till sufficient quantity of tinplate/ tin free steel is produced locally to meet the industry's demand of 700000 tonnes per annum. Scarcity would seriously affect the working of various units who are dependent on imports for such components. This is going to adversely affect availability of packaging material for processed food and pharma sectors particularly. 

Due to the demand-supply gap, the metal packaging industry was filling this gap from imports but now with the imposition of QCO, imports will not be there at all. Even applications for getting BIS accreditation of various producers of tinplate have not been processed by BIS due to covid conditions. There is no system of virtual approval or provisional approvals for these pending applications. The industry has been left high and dry due to the non-availability of tinplate/tin-free steel coupled with exorbitant price increase by local producers.

The association has also requested the ministry of steel to allow use of ISO certification materials in addition to BIS certified material. MCMA requested from 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).

Also, the BIS process is on hold due to the pandemic and foreign suppliers are unable to visit India nor BIS representatives can travel due to travel restrictions. Already four companies have applied for BIS but there is no development.

Moreover, India is not a very big market for international suppliers of tin plates and they will not be interested in going into bureaucratic and expensive BIS certification. Since these suppliers had already stopped shipping tin plates to India as a consequence there was a huge shortage of the products in the market and now this has led the domestic Industry to a standstill.

Considering the current state of affairs, MCMA on behalf of the industry has once again requested the ministry to defer the BIS and extend it till march 2022.