India’s toy import policy and the recent Quality Control Order, 2020

Toys safety

Safety and quality are fundamental concerns for all consumers, but particularly for parents who buy toys and other products related to children. Considering the fact that toys is an important and fun part of every child’s social, behavioural and cognitive development. It is imperative that not only the industry, but government should also assume an active role in enabling its adoption by a larger section of the society. The recent survey conducted by Quality Council of India shows that 67% of imported toys are not safe for the children.    In line with this, standards and regulations in multiple markets around the world have become increasingly stringent. 

Policy

India has again revised its toy import policy from ‘randomly selected samples from each consignment for testing’ to “mandatory ISI certification under Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)”. Toys Quality Control Order-2020 has been issued by DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce & Industry dated 25th Feb. 2020 through which Safety of Toys has been brought under compulsory BIS certification with effect from 01st Sept. 2020. Under this order, toys shall conform to the corresponding Indian Standards and shall bear the Standard Mark (ISI mark) under a licence from the Bureau as per Scheme-I of Schedule-II of BIS (Conformity Assessment) Regulations, 2018.

Current Process of Toy Testing & Custom Clearance

This process is as per amendment notification dated 02nd Dec 2019 issued by DGFT.

Quality Control Order for Toys (New proposed process)

It covers toy formandatory ISI certification under Scheme-I of Schedule-II. You may check the official notification

  • Effective date of implementation is 01st Sept. 2020.
  • This order shall apply to (Toys) product and material designed or clearly intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age.
  • This order also shall apply to toys as they initially received by children.

The toys being imported into India must confirm conformance to the below specified Indian Toy Standards:

  1. IS 9873 (Part 1) – Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties
  2. IS 9873 (Part 2) – Flammability
  3. IS 9873 (Part 3) – Migration of certain elements
  4. IS 9873 (Part 4) – Swings, slides and similar activities toys for indoor and outdoor family domestic use
  5. IS 9873 (Part 7) – Requirements and test methods for finger paints
  6. IS 9873 (Part 9) – Certain phthalates esters in toys and children’s products
  7. IS 15644 – Safety of Electric Toys

Overview of the Scheme-I

Under this scheme, the ISI mark is granted to the factories (who is actually producing the goods) and products by the BIS which is the national standards body of India. The main objective of the BIS is to ensure that the products that are delivered to the end consumers are safe for their use and are in adherence with all the quality and safety standards set by them. In India, the ISI mark is the synonym for better quality and safety.

Process Outline

  • For foreign factory, application will be submitted in offline mode while online application submission facility is available for domestic factories.
  • Factory audit by BIS officer after submission of application with requisite documents. At the time of the visit, the officer will physically verify the quality, manufacturing & testing infrastructure and collect few samples for independent testing.
  • The applicant needs to pay the visiting charges, testing charges and other applicable cost to the authority for further processing of application.
  • Said product should pass in independent testing in order to get the certificate.
  • Certificate will be valid for 1 year and can then be further renewed for next 1 to 5 year.

Recent developments & Industry challenges

There was a meeting organized by BIS on 12th March 2020 to understand the industries challenges in toy testing prior implementation of the order. The meeting was attended by all the stakeholders including FICCI, TAITMA, TAI, ACTI, DPIIT, manufacturers, brands and other govt. officials. In this meeting, initially BIS had highlighted the entire testing & certification procedure and its way of implementation. Further, the stakeholders have raised their concern about the broad variety, models, shape, size, series formulation, chemical & electrical properties of toys. The main objective was ease of business should not be hampered in any way as majority of the players in this sector are from MSME field. Also based on the current COVID-19 situation in India, there is a high possibility that timeline for implementation of this quality control order may get extended. 

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