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Ministry to tighten the standards of quality for electronic goods

The Ministry of electronics and information technology is currently working on a plan to introduce strict quality standards in order to prevent the sale of low-quality electronic goods and block data breaches.

The Minister of state for electronics and information technology held a meeting with the officials in order to tighten the provisions for the Electronics and Information technology goods order, 2012 to consider including the parts of the products under the ambit of compulsory registration order. The current rules focus on the registration of the products and allow an importer to bring poor quality goods in a completely knocked down or semi knocked down condition.

The CRO is the first regulation in the country across the electronics sector. It was notified in 2012 under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act. It covers 43 categories of electronic goods. It was mentioned that CRO should not only address the hardware aspects but also the software aspects of the product, which also includes the embedded software.

With an aim to build the institutional capacity to confront the new issues of data security breaches, the Government is taking this move. The current IT Act misses on clauses to fight the data security challenges of the modern day. It is difficult to identify a data theft in the first place. The ministry had asked 35 smartphone makers and Alibaba owned UC Browser to furnish the details on data security. The ministry also aims to seek similar details from the makers of Internet of Things and set top boxes. The ministry could use this information collected from companies to introduce the data security standards in CRO. Currently there are no standards on data security which the industry players need to adhere to.

Further, there are three authorities for the implementation of CRO-Ministry of electronics and information technology for registration as well as monitoring of compliance, BIS for the action on non-compliant goods and the customs authorities for ensuring compliance of imported goods to CRO. Currently the government is in the process of evaluating the existing custom procedures and the provisions of BIS act which are resulting in a weaker compliance of the CRO.

The issues concerned with the customs department include the import of notified second-hand goods without registration and the units being imported in a complete knockdown, semi knocked down and separate consignments. BIS has provisions for the misuse of Standard Mark but does not have a provision for goods sold without the Standard Mark. With a strict policy on failed reports and by tightening the quality standards, the ministry can ensure that low-quality goods to do enter the country.

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