NEARLY two months after it made public its intention to allow import of cement certified by international agencies, the government has actually set out to designate these agencies. The process is likely to be completed in a month. The actual import through this process, however, may take over two months belying hopes of early import from foreign manufacturers, mainly in Pakistan.
Foreign manufacturers need Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) quality certification to be able to export cement to India. It may take more than a month for any Pakistani manufacturer to obtain such licence. Several Pakistani cement makers had applied for BIS certification following the government waiver of all import duties on cement four months ago. But due to lengthy BIS certification process, no cement has been imported from Pakistan since then.
In this backdrop, department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) initiated move to allow third party certification meaning thereby that a quantum of cement certified by an independent international agency could be imported into India. But, it would be applicable only in the case of those manufacturers, whose application were pending with the BIS.
DIPP had sought BIS help in identifying these agencies. But, the country’s apex certification agency showed its reluctance and put the onus of designating international agencies on DIPP. However, it later agreed to help DIPP evolve a guideline, based on which international agencies could be identified. The guideline is likely to be ready in a week’s time, following which government will invite expression of interest from the international agencies. According to a government official, the list of international certification agencies would be ready in a month.
These agencies can then examine samples of export-ready cement of foreign manufacturers and certify its quality.