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Source: The post is based on the article “The issues with the Quality Control Orders for fibres” published in The Hindu on 31st March 2023.
Syllabus: GS 3 – Growth and Development
Relevance: about revised Quality Control Orders (QCO) for textile industry
News: The article discusses the revised Quality Control Orders (QCO) issued for the textile industry.
About revised Quality Control Orders (QCO)
A revised Quality Control Orders (QCO) have been issued for fibres (cotton, polyester and viscose). These fibres constitute the basic raw materials for the majority of the Indian textile and clothing industry.
Under the revised QCO, international manufacturers of these fibres, who supply to India, are also mandated to get a certificate of quality control from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). BIS is the certifying authority for the QCOs.
What is the aim of the revised Quality Control Orders (QCO)?
The Indian textiles manufacturers import fibres due to the cost competitiveness, non-availability in the domestic market, or to meet a specified demand of the overseas buyer.
The fibres imported are often sub-quality and cheaper which does not cater the demand of the buyers.
Therefore, the main aim of the QCO is to control import of sub-quality and cheaper items and to ensure that customers get quality products.
What are the challenges associated with the revised QCO?
First, it is difficult to get a BIS certificate as it involves cost and many would not be interested in getting the certificate.
This will make the Indian textile manufacturers, who are dependent on these suppliers for the raw material, to either look at other suppliers or lose orders.
Second, BIS officials have to visit the manufacturing unit abroad before issuing the certificate. This makes the process time consuming and the process is yet to be completed for all suppliers who have already applied for the BIS registration.
There is also no clarity on the fibres that were shipped to India before the certification.
Third, the domestic and international textile buyers have established a supply chain over the years and BIS certification may cause disruptions to it.
Fourth, some varieties of viscose or polyester fibres have special functional properties and separate HS (Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System) code when imported.
The textile industry imports just small quantities of such fibres and restricting its availability will deny Indian consumers of niche products.
Fifth, there is also a fear of costs going up for basic garments.
What can be the way ahead?
First, the textile industry is of the view that import of specialty fibres that are used as blends with other fibres should be made available without restriction.
Second, any overseas applicant for the BIS certificate should get it without delay after inspection.
Third, concerns exist regarding textile units using inferior fibres that aren’t covered by the QCO, and financial assistance required by MSME yarn mills to set up laboratories to test quality of the products.
Therefore, the QCO should be applied only after the uncertainties have been resolved and the anomalies have been corrected.