Setting up Footwear Manufacturing in India? Check out the BIS Certification Procedure

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Leather Shoes
Leather Shoes

Safety and quality assurance of footwear is of importance as it is a personal and protective item. Slips and falls are common hazards that can be caused by substandard footwear. To ensure the manufacturers and importers maintain quality, and also to curb the import of substandard quality of the footwear, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India through an order on 27th October 2020, made it mandatory to bear BIS mark in which need to be produced, imported, stocked, sold and traded in the country.

BIS Certification is provided in India by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the National Standards Body which promotes and nurtures standards movement within the country since 1947. BIS Certification provides a third-party guarantee of quality, safety and reliability of products to the customer. BIS Certification was voluntary in nature however the Government of India listed certain products like footwear for mandatory BIS certification taking public health into consideration.

Listing footwear as a mandatory product for BIS certification means that the item cannot be produced, sold/ traded, imported and stocked unless they bear the BIS mark. The order came into force on October 27, 2020. To know more about the order, you can check these links – https://dipp.gov.in/sites/default/files/Fair-QCOs-28September2020.pdf | https://dipp.gov.in/sites/default/files/Footwear-QualityControlOrder-2020-29October2020.pdf | https://dipp.gov.in/sites/default/files/FootwearLeather-QualityControlOrder-2020-29October2020.pdf

Toronto Rehabilitation Institute at the University Health Network, in 2016, tested 98 pairs of winter boots, including both safety and casual footwear. Of the 98 types of footwear, only eight per cent met the minimum slip resistance standards set out by the test. Footwear of lesser quality can also cause chronic back pain and other health issues.

According to the BIS’s footwear product manual – sampling guideline – safety footwear shall be made of materials that conform to the requirement of  Innocuousness as per  Cl  5.3.6  of  IS  15298 Part 3:2019, four pairs of shoes of each variety (In case samples are sent to a different lab for testing innocuousness of materials, 2 pairs are required to be sent in addition). There will be about 56 tests conducted, according to the manual.

Image Courtesy: Ever Trade

The scheme of inspection and testing personal protective equipment part 3 protective footwear, highlights the requirements which need to be adhered to by the manufactures. A laboratory should be maintained and suitably staffed, where different tests given in the specification will be carried out in accordance with the methods given in the specification. A calibration plan for the test equipment also need to be prepared and the test records should be maintained by the manufacturer.

The sample that is to be tested, is selected from a control unit – 10,000 pairs or Fortnight production of the safety footwear, whichever is earlier manufactured from the same consignment of the raw material. In case of failure of the sample to conform to any of the requirements laid down in the specification, the entire control unit represented by the sample shall be considered unfit for the purpose of marking.

The process of BIS certification is a complicated and elaborate exercise, starting from product development and validation, and thereafter, going through the process of BIS certification. The manufacturer, after development and validation of the product as per the relevant Indian Standard, may apply to BIS for certification.

The application is filed online with the required documents, including inter alia, list of manufacturing machinery, test equipment and their calibration, testing personnel, process flow-chart, etc. The entire process usually takes about 3 months to complete. If you are looking of obtaining a BIS certification licence/ certificate for footwear industry, check the link – https://bis.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/PM-15298PT-3-CMD2.pdf

However, the footwear manufacturers can avail of the Tatkal Licensing Scheme as it is listed as a mandatory item for BIS certification. The processing time for applications received under the tatkal scheme was reduced to 30 days in 2014. The application fee and inspection charges, under the scheme, are at double the rates that apply for application under the normal scheme. Also, additional testing charges, applicable for priority testing of samples, will be levied.

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