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In the past few years, there had been a huge inflow of Chinese and other country’s products in the Indian market. Indian toy industry was of no exception to this phenomenon. And there were not sufficient regulations to check the quality of such products. However, keeping in mind the same the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has introduced certain revisions in conditions for toy import of toys in India on 1st September 2017. The India Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) stated that these changes were implemented from immediate effect. This notification stated that every consignment of toys will only be allowed if it was accompanied with safety certificates stating that the products are in conformity with the prescribed standards of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
Such certificate must be provided by the manufacturer of the toys. For this, a sample is provided by them and tested by an independent laboratory. Such independent laboratory must be accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
The sample is tested to ensure compliance of below specified Indian standards for Toys relating to the level of safety for kids:
After the new policies are issued the volume of imports from China alone has dropped to half of the last figures. This is considered as a result of higher quality requirements which have been mandatory by the authorities. These new policies mandated certain certification for which the importers were not prepared for.
This major reduction in the overall quantity of imports in India has resulted in a rise in retail prices of such toys by 8 to 14 percent. However, on the wholesale level, this inflation is almost double at around 30 percent.
Many experts are of the opinion that we are not prepared for such major change. India is importing close to five lakh stock keeping units every year. They are a variety of toys. And the number of accreditation authorities authorized by NABL to carry out the testing work for such a large number of imports. Indian Toy industry approximated values at around Rs. 5000 crores. And around 70% of the market size constitutes Chinese toys alone.
In order to handle such a large number of import of toys, a massive up gradation of infrastructure is required to be done in India. The authorities are aware of the situation and taking all the possible steps to spread awareness regarding toy testing in India. Keeping in mind National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) had organized an awareness program at Zirakpur for testing of toys. This program was attended by more than 45 participants from around 30 labs located in different states of India.
After this notification was issued European Union raised questions regarding the rationale of such newly introduced changes in policy in a statement issued to the World Trade Organization. They had concerns regarding the urgent need for such changes and lack of justification for the same. It further stated that instead of such standards laid down by India’s Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), such import of toys can be as per the international standards.
Irrespective of the criticism, experts are of the opinion that accreditation and standardization regulations are a good step to ensure quality, child safety, and customer satisfaction.
With several changes and relaxations in the industrial and trade policies, the industries have evidenced a huge thrust of exports. This has created quality consciousness in the market. This is the reason accreditation and standardization policies are issued and testing centers and laboratories are set up to run tests and ensure an acceptable level of competence for different products.
For this purpose, National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) was established by Government of India under the department of science and technology. It is an autonomous body which conducts a third-party assessment to ensure technical and quality competence of the products. For this purpose different laboratories are authorized to conduct specific tests and measurements for assessment as per set standards international as well as the ones set by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
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