The Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA) has issued a statement claiming that recent media reports have alleged that the implementation of a Quality Control Order (QCO) on Stainless Steel by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has led to the scarcity of the metal and subsequently a price hike in the country.

According to the ISSDA, the aforementioned media reports have also mentioned that only four companies have been given BIS certification.

"It is unfortunate that such false information is being spread with malicious intent which undermines the government’s vision of “Zero defect – Zero effect," claims the ISSDA.

The ISSDA argues that the QCO order is a positive step for promoting good quality stainless steel, similar to other quality control orders for carbon steel and many other products.

"Therefore, the QCO neither intends to put any curbs on imports nor create any scarcity of the metal," the ISSDA claims.

The ISSDA claims that the QCO covers only 25 grades of stainless steel falling under the three IS standards namely IS 6911, IS 5522 and IS 15997. All these grades are widely manufactured in India and the implementation of the QCO does not affect supplies in any way as both domestic and foreign manufacturers have the licenses for these grades. In addition, the government has announced an exemption list for Stainless Steel grades, not normally produced in India, which can be freely imported without any license. A system of obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the BIS on a case-by-case basis also exists for the grades, which are outside of the three Indian Standards namely IS 15997, IS 6911 and IS 5512. "This implies that the supply of stainless steel to domestic users does not get affected in any way due to the implementation of QCO. Hence, the variation in the prices of stainless steel are attributable to other factors like input price escalations," says the ISSDA.

Also, contrary to reports, BIS has issued 22 licenses from 11 different countries, apart from 26 licenses given to domestic producers.

The Indian Stainless Steel Development Association has been at the forefront of ensuring the implementation of QCO for stainless steel flat products to safeguard consumer interest and is in regular touch with its member companies, the BIS and the Ministry of Steel to facilitate resolution to any hardships being faced by industry players.