• Why in News- The Ministry of Textiles have unveiled two Quality Control Orders (QCOs) for 31 technical textile items, including 19 geo textile and 12 protective textile products. 
  • QCO was the first technical regulation in the country for technical textile products. 
  • Mandatory BIS marking for these products will come into effect 180 days immediately after the date of the publication of the orders in the gazette. 
  • In the second phase, the Ministry plans to issue two more QCOs for 28 items that will cover 22 agro textile products and six medical textile items.

Why are fibres covered under QCOs? 

  • The Indian textile and clothing industry consumes both indigenous and imported fibres and filaments. 
  • The imports are for different reasons — cost competitiveness, non­ availability in the domestic market, or to meet a specified demand of the overseas buyer. 
  • The main aim of the QCO is to control import of sub­ quality and cheaper items and to ensure that customers get quality products. 

What challenges does the new mandate bring? 

  • India imports annually 50,000 -60,000 tonnes of viscose fibre and its variants such as Modal and Tencel LF from nearly 20 countries. 
  • The overseas fibre manufacturers sell not only to India but to other countries too. The supply of some fibres to India is in small quantities. 
  • Getting the certificate from the BIS involves a cost and and hence not 

all are interested in getting the certificate. 

  • The Indian textile manufacturers who are dependent on these suppliers for the raw material will have to either look at other suppliers or lose orders. What is the way forward? 
  • Furthermore, BIS officials have to visit the manufacturing unit abroad before issuing the certificate and this process is yet to be completed for all suppliers who have applied for the BIS registration. 
  • There is no clarity on the fibres that were shipped before the certification and which will reach India in the coming days. 
  • The textile buyers, be it domestic or international, have established a supply chain over the years and when there are constraints because of certification, the value chain is disrupted. 

What is the way forward? 

  • Be it viscose or polyester, some varieties of the fibre have special functional properties and separate HS (Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System) code when imported. 
  • But, these are bundled in the QCO and thus have uniform quality standards.
  • The textile industry imports just small quantities of such fibres and restricting its availability will deny Indian consumers of niche products. 
  • The textile industry is of the view that import of speciality fibres that are used as blends with other fibres should be made available without restriction. 
  • Also, any overseas applicant for the BIS certificate should get it without delay after inspection. 
  • The QCO should be implemented only after the ambiguities are cleared and the anomalies set right.