Quality control for footwear being enforced too early, say retailers

Bodies representing large footwear retailers also want their existing inventory — procured or manufactured before the quality control orders (QCO) — to be exempt from the mandatory qualiity certification.

Suneera Tandon
Updated25 Apr 2023
India is the second-largest producer and consumer of footwear in the world (HT)
India is the second-largest producer and consumer of footwear in the world (HT)

New Delhi: Large footwear retailers say they want a government move to enforce quality norms for leather and non-leather footwear to be pushed back by months.

The new regulation kicks in on 1 July for manufacturers and retailers say they can only start selling eight to ten months from that date because there won’t be enough certified stocks in the market.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Retailers Association of India or RAI, PHD Chambers as well as Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) have all written to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) seeking between eight to ten months of extension from the date the regulation kicks in for manufacturers.

Bodies representing large footwear retailers also want their existing inventory — procured or manufactured before the quality control orders (QCO) — to be exempt from the mandatory qualiity certification.

With the issuance of the QCO on footwear products in 2020 by DPIIT, several footwear products—including leather, rubber and polymer footwear — were brought under compulsory Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification. Once enforced it will make it mandatory for footwear retailers and manufacturers to conform to the standards and bear a standard mark.

However, in June last year the Centre decided to extend the deadline for implementation of the quality control order on footwear by a year to 1 July. This was in also response to representations made by the domestic footwear industry.

Only a handful of manufacturers and suppliers have been able to receive the BIS licences till date—30 were issued across 10 leather footwear categories, and 18 for 13 categories of non-leather footwear. At the current pace the certification process for the majority of manufacturers will not be completed even after the QCO’s effective date, RAI said.

Retailers would still require a lead time of around four to six months for placing orders, designing process, manufacturing of customized or assorted orders, logistics and last mile transportation till pan- India retail stores to maintain sufficient inventory, they said.

The retail industry is determined to adopt the QCOs, it added. However, it will not be feasible for the retailers to finalize the design and place purchase orders “in zero time” after the manufacturers are granted BIS certification on or prior to the effective date.

Further, even if all the manufacturers are granted BIS licences within the specified time frame of QCO implementation, the retailers and wholesalers would not be able to comply with the QCO requirement from the same effective date due to the fact that they would be holding huge inventories procured and manufactured prior to 30 June.

India is the second-largest producer and consumer of footwear in the world. In January, commerce minister Piyush Goyal said that BIS standards need to be followed for better quality and production which eventually leads to good quality products for the consumers.

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