Hardware industry assures government of self-certification

Written by P P Thimmaya | Bangalore | Updated: Sep 3 2013, 09:56am hrs
The hardware industry players, including PC makers, have assured the government that it will give an undertaking of self-certification for all its products to comply with Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) regulations while ensuring that there is no delay in the launch of their brands in the country. This undertaking also ensures that individual companies will be held responsible if there is some defect found in the products later in the testing laboratories.

Talking to FE, Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology executive director Anwar Shirpurwala said that the guarantee provided by individual PC companies on the quality of their goods allows them to introduce their products while the testing procedure is being carried out simultaneously by the government-approved laboratories.

The department of information technology and communication had notified this policy in October 2012 under The Electronics and Information Technology Goods (Requirement for Compulsory Registration) Order 2012. This had placed a blanket ban on the sale of certain electronic products unless they met with the standard specified by BIS. The government order listed products under 15 categories ranging from video games, laptop, notebook, tablet and plasma/LCD/LED televisions, to microwave, printers and scanners, telephone answering machines, electronic music systems, etc.

This had raised a lot of issues with the hardware industry players as the entire process of getting their products BIS certified involved considerable amount of time, leading to delays in product launches. The biggest fear was the lack of adequate testing facilities in the country which would delay the launch of new products into country. There are only six BIS labs in the country and this was grossly insufficient for testing the various products of the hardware sector.

According to MAIT, around 8,000 products are to be tested from an average five factories each and these labs take around 4 to 6 weeks to test one product.

A senior official from Dell said that they have filed the applications for certification on majority of the products while at the same time they have undertaken the self-certification process to ensure that they are able to introduce it at the right time in the market.

Shirpurwala said these are some of the proactive measures undertaken by the government and industry to ensure that the entire process of certification is simplified. However, there are still some other issues to be resolved for the industry especially on the deadline set by the government for testing of the products. The government had set a deadline of July 3 for filing the application of products, failing which a penalty would be imposed. Acer India chief marketing officer S Rajendran said that there should be realistic appreciation of the global supply chain dynamics of the hardware sector which involves multiple geographies & locations and they cant be guided by a particular deadline.

The government had first come out with a deadline of April 3, 2013 for the mandatory certification of all hardware products but extended it another three months after various representations from the various industry players. The hardware industry in principle is not against the the BIS certification as they felt that such guidelines would curb the entry of sub-standard products, but state that they are only voicing their concern on the practicality of implementing these policies.