The All India Steel Bottle Association appeals for immediate government action to curb the surge in sub-standard steel vacuum flask imports. Highlighting a 35% increase from 2019-20 to 2022-23, AISBA urges adherence to quality standards and a halt on import relaxations after January 14, 2024. The plea emphasizes local manufacturers' struggles, citing a potential capacity increase of 25,000 jobs with government intervention.
In a bid to address a pressing concern, the All India Steel Bottle Association (AISBA) has raised alarm bells over the escalating imports of inferior steel vacuum flasks into India. The association contends that sub-standard products, flooding in from China and other nations, have witnessed a staggering 35% surge from the fiscal year 2019-20 to 2022-23, as per official data.
Bharat Agarwal, Treasurer of AISBA, underscores the urgency for government intervention, urging swift measures to curb the influx of these sub-par products. Notably, he draws attention to the impending deadline of January 14, 2024, under a Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) order, which restricts quality approvals for such imports. Agarwal urges the government not to extend the relaxation, emphasizing the products' non-compliance with BIS standards.
"The products are not as per the BIS standards, hence the government must not extend the relaxation considering the issues faced by local manufacturers who have invested around Rs 1,500 crore in the Indian market," Agarwal asserts.
He further sheds light on the challenges faced by local manufacturers, stating, "We have also not been unable to utilise our 100 per cent capacity due to challenges from imports which land in India at lower than their actual manufacturing costs." AISBA reveals that despite having an installed capacity of 1,90,000 pieces per day, the current production stands at 38,000 pieces per day, merely 20% of the rated capacity.
AISBA projects a positive outcome with government intervention, envisioning an annual capacity increase and the creation of 25,000 job opportunities within six months. Currently employing approximately 9,500 people, the industry anticipates significant growth if swift actions are taken to rectify the challenges posed by sub-standard imports.
The plea from AISBA to address the surge in sub-standard steel vacuum flask imports underscores the critical need for government intervention. With the looming deadline of January 14, 2024, under the BIS order, the urgency to uphold quality standards becomes paramount. Bharat Agarwal's emphasis on the struggles faced by local manufacturers and the potential for job creation signals a broader call for preserving the integrity of the domestic steel industry. As the government weighs its response, the outcome could shape the trajectory of the industry, determining its capacity utilization and job creation potential in the coming months.