IT min­istry to tighten qual­ity stan­dards for elec­tronic goods


Cur­rent rules do not pre­vent im­porters from bring­ing in low qual­ity goods and as­sem­bling in In­dia

The min­istry of elec­tron­ics and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy (Me­ity) is work­ing on a plan to in­tro­duce stricter qual­ity stan­dards to pre­vent the sale of spu­ri­ous elec­tronic goods and block data breaches, said two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

Min­is­ter of state for elec­tron­ics and IT P.P. Chaud­hary, ear­lier this month, held a meet­ing with of­fi­cials to tighten pro­vi­sions of Elec­tron­ics and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Goods (Re­quire­ments for Com­pul­sory Reg­is­tra­tion) Or­der, 2012 to con­sider in­clud­ing parts of the prod­ucts them­selves un­der the am­bit of the com­pul­sory reg­is­tra­tion or­der (CRO), one of the two peo­ple said on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

The cur­rent rules fo­cus on reg­is­tra­tion of prod­ucts and do not pre­vent an im­porter from bring­ing in poor qual­ity prod­ucts (reg­is­tered in CRO) in a com­pletely knocked down or semi-knocked down (CKD/ SKD) con­di­tion.

CRO is the first reg­u­la­tion in In­dia in the elec­tron­ics sec­tor. It was no­ti­fied in 2012 un­der the Bureau of In­dian Stan­dards (BIS) Act. The reg­u­la­tion cur­rently cov­ers 43 cat­e­gories of elec­tronic goods, ac­cord­ing to the first per­son.

“CRO should not only ad­dress hard­ware as­pects but also the soft­ware as­pects of the prod­uct, es­pe­cially with re­spect to em­bed­ded soft­ware,” the first per­son cited above said.

“The gov­ern­ment is try­ing to build an in­sti­tu­tional ca­pac­ity to con­front the new issues of data se­cu­rity breaches. The ex­ist­ing IT Act misses on clauses to fight data se­cu­rity chal­lenges of the mod­ern day. Iden­ti­fy­ing data theft in it­self is a chal­lenge,” the sec­ond per­son said on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

The min­istry has re­cently asked 35 smart­phone mak­ers and Alibaba-owned UC Browser to fur­nish de­tails on data se­cu­rity. On 25 Au­gust, Mint re­ported that the in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy min­istry will also seek sim­i­lar de­tails from mak­ers of In­ter­net of Things or IOT de­vices and set­top boxes. The first per­son said the gov­ern­ment may use the in­for­ma­tion col­lected from com­pa­nies to in­tro­duce data se­cu­rity stan­dards in CRO.

“Cur­rently, there are no fixed stan­dards on data se­cu­rity that the in­dus­try play­ers can be asked to com­ply with,” the sec­ond per­son said.

There are three nodal au­thor­i­ties for im­ple­men­ta­tion of Cro—me­ity for reg­is­tra­tion and mon­i­tor­ing of com­pli­ance; BIS for ac­tion on non-com­pli­ant goods; and cus­toms au­thor­i­ties for en­sur­ing com­pli­ance of im­ported goods to CRO.

The gov­ern­ment is in the process of eval­u­at­ing ex­ist­ing cus­toms pro­ce­dures and pro­vi­sions of BIS Act that are re­sult­ing in weaker com­pli­ance of the CRO, the first per­son said.

The issues that are re­lated to the cus­toms depart­ment, as iden­ti­fied by Me­ity, in­clude im­port of no­ti­fied sec­ond­hand goods with­out reg­is­tra­tion and “units be­ing im­ported in com­plete knock­down/ semi knocked down/sep­a­rate con­sign­ments”.

“BIS Act 1986 has pro­vi­sions for mis­use of Stan­dard Mark but doesn’t have pro­vi­sion for goods sold with­out Stan­dard Mark. BIS also needs to get strict on failed re­ports,” the first per­son said.

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