Footwear manufacturers and allied industries from 13 states have observed a protest day on 25th September 2023, dissenting against the central government’s irrational imposition of BIS quality certification on all kinds of footwear. The nationwide protest was organized by the All India MSME Footwear Council. Industry leaders and MSME owners have pointed out that the government’s decision is neither practical nor scientific. The state-level inauguration of the protests held at Modern Industrial Estate in Kozhikode. As many as 400 small-scale footwear units were also took part in the protests across Kerala.
“The standards are set without considering the manufacturing/production process, types of raw materials used, and categories of footwear products. This makes the implementation of BIS standards unrealistic,” VKC Razak, National Chairman, All India MSME Footwear Council said.
Several decisions were made to address the technical and practical issues in the implementation of mandatory BIS norms in a meeting convened by the hon’ble Union minister for Commerce and Industry Shri. Piyush Goyal on August 5th. The minister assured many positive decisions on the raised issues to make it simple, practical and scientific. This includes one factory one license, fewer tests and that too on finished product, longer intervals in tests, feasibility of chemical tests in the current scenario, time to sell out stocks manufactured before December 31st and the options for using reprocessed materials. “None of these have been materialized yet as concerned officers are yet to suggest suitable amendments in the rules. The situation is leading to an impasse, as there are only three months left to implement BIS norms for all kinds of footwear,” said Dharmender Narula, General Convenor, All India MSME Footwear Council.
Although the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has stated that micro and small units do not come under the purview of mandatory BIS norms, various circulars from BIS do not acknowledge this, according to footwear makers. The protestors are demanding a conclusive order from the government that relieves the MSME units from the ambit of mandatory BIS norms. They are also asking to exclude general-purpose sandals, slippers, school shoes, and fancy footwear from the mandatory rule due to their complex production process. Thousands of people including factory owners and employees participated in the Protest Day observation in front of their factories in different states.