India’s Steel Ministry has extended the date of enforcement of standards on all steel and steel-related items by three months, according to a notification released on April 22. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which issues these quality certifications is shut amid the COVID-19 pandemic. BIS laboratories are closed due to the lockdown and travel ban and the process of issuing certification is stalled.
Industries bodies representing secondary steel producer and small-scale producers were seeking clarity and extension of the standards order. Secondary producers involved in supply and purchase of ferroalloys sought more time to comply with the newly imposed standardisation rules issued by BIS.
Ferrosilicon is a major raw material used by steelmakers and importers will need a BIS certificate to import it once the deadline extension ends. Annually, India imports two-thirds (300,000mt) of its ferrosilicon needs from various countries including Bhutan, Norway and China.
The three-month extension would not be enough for the industry. To get the compulsory certification needed for imports of products, in-person inspection of foreign plants by BIS official is required, but due to the lockdown and travel ban, the whole process of certification might take around eight to ten months, according to industry experts.
Products that need certification include ferrosilicon, ferronickel, hot-rolled steel strip, hot-rolled mild steel sheet, structural steel for construction, bright steel bars, tools & die steel, steels for hardening and tempering, high-speed tool steel and steel for engines valves.