India is a growing market of over 1.2 billon people; one of the largest in the world! With this many possible consumers of electronic devices and goods, it clearly makes India a huge market for consumer products. The DeitY (Department of Electronic and Information Technology) for the Indian government has a slogan “Billion Needs Million Chips”. So it goes without saying that the Indian market is ripe for opportunity.
As with many emerging markets, regulations are in constant flux. New regulations are coming in where there were none before, and many previous regulations are under constant revision. What this means for manufacturers is that they need to be on their toes when it comes to product regulatory compliance. What is acceptable today may not be acceptable next week. This is certainly the case that we have seen time and time again with the India CRS (Compulsory Registration Scheme) created by the DeitY and managed by BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards). However, with vigilance, much of the grief caused by unavoidable changes to the market can cause can be minimized.
The India CRO (Compulsory Registration Order) has been in place since September 7, 2012 and has covered a short list of 15 product categories ranging from wireless keyboards to printers to set top boxes. Any products coming onto the market and found not in compliance with the order are being kept out of the Indian market. If they are entering India from outside of its borders, these products are being held in customs. This has caused major headaches for manufacturers; loss of time to market, loss of orders, loss of market share along with fees and penalties from the Indian government.
You might say to yourself, “How might this affect my product when I’ve been shipping into market with no issues since this came into effect?”
Well, remember those 15 product categories? Very shortly the list will double! There will be 15 new product categories added this November, along with more stringent regulations on the original 15. The new products being added to the scope expansion include power supplies, batteries, mobile phones, cash registers, point of sale terminals, copying machines, smart card readers, mail processing machines, postage machines, passport readers and a few others.
One of the major players in this CRS is the Indian customs. Many times manufacturers do not realize that their products are covered under the CRO until they are held in customs. This is due to many grey areas in the regulation that leads to inconsistencies with products being covered. With the anticipated increase in the number of product categories covered, it is possible that some of these inconsistencies will continue.
The best way to avoid these types of scenarios is to ensure your product meets the applicable requirements before products destined for the Indian marketplace encounter difficulties reaching their end customer. If the registration is required, work with a reputable BIS recognized testing laboratory like UL to ensure that your product’s marketability does not have to suffer.