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3 Quality Control Orders for 7 Non-Ferrous Refined Metal Items Announced

 Context:

On August 31, 2023, the Ministry of Mines issued three Quality Control Orders (QCOs) for seven specific items. These QCOs represent the Ministry of Mines’ first set of technical regulations under the BIS Act.

Relevance:

  • GS Paper – II: Government Policies & Interventions
  • GS Paper – III: Growth & Development Industrial Growth Industrial Policy

Dimensions of the article:

  1. About Quality Control Orders
  2. QCOs for aluminum, copper and nickel
  3. Process of QCO notification
  4. Significance of QCO notification

About Quality Control Orders

  • Quality Control Orders, or QCOs, are regulatory measures put in place by the government to define quality standards for particular products or categories of products.
  • The primary objective of QCOs is to regulate the entry of sub-standard and lower-quality items into the domestic market, guaranteeing that consumers have access to high-quality products that meet prescribed standards.
  • It’s worth noting that QCOs cannot be challenged at the World Trade Organization (WTO) when they are imposed on the grounds of health, safety, environmental concerns, deceptive trade practices, or national security.
  • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) plays a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with the quality standards outlined in QCOs.
  • BIS is responsible for certifying products that meet the stipulated standards, both for domestic manufacturers and international producers.
  • With the introduction of these QCOs, the manufacturing, storage, and sale of products that lack BIS certification are prohibited in accordance with the BIS Act of 2016.

QCOs for aluminum, copper and nickel:

  • The QCO for Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys necessitates mandatory certification under the relevant Indian Standards (IS) for domestic production and the import of various aluminum products, including ingots and casting, high purity primary aluminum ingots, aluminum alloy ingots for bearings, primary aluminum ingots for remolding, and aluminum ingots, billets, and wire bars (EC grade).
  • The other two QCOs establish appropriate IS standards for copper and nickel powder.

Process of QCO notification:

  • The process of QCO notification involves a thorough procedure, including consultations with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), industry associations, and stakeholders.
  • It also encompasses the publication of draft QCOs on the websites of both the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Ministry for a 60-day period to invite comments from member countries and stakeholders.
  • Following this, the QCOs are finalized after approval by the Union Minister of Mines and review by the Legislative Department.

Significance of QCO:

  • The significance of these QCOs lies in the Ministry of Mines’ commitment to enhancing the quality control framework within the non-ferrous metals sector in India.
  •  The Ministry is actively collaborating with BIS to develop additional QCOs for upstream products, such as refined metals, within the non-ferrous metal value chain.
  • These mandatory QCOs serve several vital purposes, including preventing the import of sub-standard goods, discouraging unfair trade practices, ensuring the availability of high-quality products for domestic consumers and industrial users, aligning Indian product quality with international standards, and enhancing the global reputation of ‘Make in India.’
  • These QCO notifications represent one of the many initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Mines to support the realization of the Prime Minister’s vision of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat, or a self-reliant India.

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