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Cement makers claim comes under the BIS Lens - Posted on: 08-09-2020

The overall cement production capacity in the country was nearly 545 million tonnes in the financial year 2020.

Cement manufacturers may soon have to change the way they market or differentiate their products.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), a central body responsible for the standardization, marking and quality certification of goods, has directed cement manufacturers to refrain from making claims that are not backed by the relevant Indian standards.
The cement department comes under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

“Manufacturers are making various objective claims -- such as ‘Protect Steel in Concrete’, ‘Protect Concrete from Corrosion’, ‘Corrosion Resistant’, ‘Weather Proof’, ‘Damp Proof’ -- for describing their product,” the bureau said in a circular on August 28.
“These objective claims are not prescribed and not verifiable as per the relevant Indian Standard for the product,” it added.
A spokesperson for a top cement manufacturer said the reason for the sudden move was because some players had made absurd claims, including that cement protects from the Covid-19 virus.

“Some of the points, like being corrosion-resistant or giving more strength, have been there for centuries. In the name of hanging some, BIS is hanging everyone. A move like this will choke the industry and take away advertising liberties,” the person, who requested anonymity, added.
According to the circular, manufacturers are also making various subjective claims such as ‘Stronger’, ‘High-Performance Cement’ which are also not backed by the relevant Indian standard. Some of the claims may even form part of the registered trademark of the manufacturer.

According to the circular, all such claims, either through bags/packages or advertisements, are likely to mislead the consumer about the quality of the product.
“For all such objective claims, manufacturers shall be advised to refrain from making any such claims through bags, packages, advertisements, hoardings, pamphlets, sales promotion leaflets, price lists or the like,” said the circular.
For all subjective claims, manufacturers shall explicitly indicate that such claims are not covered under the scope of BIS licence granted to them and the responsibility of such claims lies with them, it added.Companies that have already invested in advertisements using these tag lines will have to make changes.
“Even though the financial impact of changing ads that are already taken will be little, if you have been using certain words for a long time and if those are to be restricted, then it changes the brand meaning,” said yet another cement maker.
The cement manufacturers’ association is expected to approach the consumer affairs ministry and BIS later this week to resolve the issue.

India is the second-largest cement producer in the world and accounted for over 8% of the global installed capacity by 2019.
The overall cement production capacity in the country was nearly 545 million tonnes in the financial year 2020.
India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), a commerce ministry body said in a report on the cement sector that of the county’s total cement capacity, 98% was with the private sector, while the was with the public sector.
The top 20 companies account for around 70% of the total cement production in India.