In April, a quality control order on tin plates was issued by the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standard). The nation’s metal packaging industry will be affected adversely by this order.
This is a big cause for concern as the industry’s approximate worth stands at Rs. 5,000 crore. The BIS order will be applicable to ‘Cold Reduced Electrolytic Tinplate’. This is an import element, which is used in packing milk power, baby food, coffee and mango pulp, among other edible and non-edible things.
The order is likely to affect the metal packaging industry adversely. Since this industry employs a significant number of employees that runs into about a lakh, MCMA (Metal Container Manufacturers Association) realises the need to get this order revised.
According to MCMA’s President – Sanjay Bhatia, tin isn’t a piece of mass consumption. Rather, it’s a mere industrial product and as such, the BIS order should have another revision.
Is the Future of Indian Metal Packaging Industry At Stake?
The industry absorbs around 550,000 tons of tin mill products. Of these, approximately 60% is prime and the rest 40% is non-prime.
About 325,000 tons are available from domestic sources while the rest is imported from various countries like Korea, Japan, Europe, Brazil, USA, Venezuela and China.
The firms, from where India imports the products, follow strict global quality control rules. Since India doesn’t import large quantities, these firms are unlikely to bear the pain of getting BIS certification.
It’s important to note here that the key requirement of prime material is for edible products like fruits, vegetables, processed food, edible oil, dairy products etc.
Non-prime materials are used for non-edible products like industrial oils and packing of paints, among others.
The quality control order of BIS brings a non-tariff blockade in order to safeguard the domestic producers. But the production available in India is not sufficient to meet the needs of the industry, both in terms of grades and volume.
For certain applications, the metal packaging industry needs continuous annealed material, as well as shearing with high levels of accuracy with respect to products’ squareness such as scroll tinplate sheets, battery jackets, which the indigenous producer won’t be able to supply.
That’s why the MCMA has approached the Steel Ministry, Ministry of Medium, Commerce Ministry, Small Enterprises and even Prime Minister’s Office with their demand of revising the BIS order.