India is the world’s second largest manufacturer of footwear, after China, producing about three billion pairs annually, with an estimated value of €9.5bn. Domestic demand for footwear is estimated to double to about six billion by 2030. Though there is no explicit data, it is estimated that polyurethane accounts for 12% of the industry’s total material usage. The Indian footwear industry employs more than 4.4m people.
“The cost involved for the implementation of new BIS standards is quite high. A unit manufacturing for three or four different product segments has to apply for separate licences. Each licence will cost more than INR125,000 [€1400]. Apart from this, the lab testing also involves huge cost. This is definitely going to be a major challenge for the industry," said Razak.
Director General of BIS, Pramod Kumar Tiwari, told Urethanes Technology International that his body has made efforts to make compliance easy and convenient, with implementation dates phased according to the size of the enterprise. Smaller manufactures will have until January 1, 2024 to implement the standards. While “micro enterprises” will not need to be compliant until July 1, 2024. Tiwari refuted the suggestion that BIS had inadequate testing in place, saying that BIS has test facilities at two of its labs, that there are a further two test labs at the Footwear Design and Development Institute, a test facility at the Central Leather Research Institute, and that 11 private laboratories have been certified for footwear testing.
As well as being given more time to comply, certified start-ups and “micro enterprises” will receive an 80% discount on testing charges.
Despite his misgivings, VKC's Razak believes the standard will have a positive impact on curbing imports from China. But, he argues, it’s not legitimate, standards-conforming product imported from China that is the problem: “It is the illegal imports from China that [are] impacting the sector.”
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