Industry bodies from the metal and stainless steel sector have approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Steel Minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh seeking their intervention to shelve the Steel Quality Control (QC) Order, 2016. Terming the order “arbitrary”, the Metal and Stainless Steel Merchant’s Association (MSSMA), the All India Stainless Steel Industries Association (AISSIA) and the Process Plant & Machinery Association of India (PPMAI) claimed that the quality control order has been implemented without discussions with end users. Major industry bodies and end users have strongly stood up against the Stainless Steel Product Quality Control (QC) Order, 2016, the associations said in a joint statement. Last month, the Steel Ministry came out with the order to check sale of defective and sub-standard stainless steel products used for making utensils and various kitchen appliances. The associations have written to the prime minister and the steel minister to intervene and keep the quality control order in abeyance as well as convene an open house with representatives of the industry for discussion before implementing it. According to the statement, the QC order makes it mandatory to register with BIS and prohibits manufacturing, import, storage, sale and distribution of stainless steel products by trade and industry without such registration. “We strongly believe that this might not be the real intention of the government as stainless steel flat products are the basic raw material for so many products,” it added. The QC order, MSSMA Chairman (excise and Customs) Manoj Kunango said, will lead to closure of thousands of SSI units throughout the country and leave lakhs jobless. “We urge the Steel Ministry to open a dialogue with the domestic stainless steel manufacturing industry and the stainless steel associations concerned to ascertain how much they produce or manage business as per BIS and whether they also support this draft order,” he added. PPMAI Secretary V P Ramachandran said, “It seems the Steel Ministry is hell-bent on unnecessarily troubling SMEs and MSMEs in the industrial segment to offer protection to one stainless steel producer who is also manufacturing as per international standards and not as per BIS.” He explained that in absence of Indian standards for certain international grades, applying the QC order will mean the industry will be required to approach BIS for all such unlisted grades for exemption from BIS or a panel which will take weeks to decide. “Our consignments will incur demurrage due to this new stipulation. The SMEs do not have such resources and time. This goes against the liberalised reformed environment,” Mr Ramachandran said.
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