A study conducted recently by Nielsen revealed that 47% of LED bulb brands and 52% of LED downlighter brands across 400 electrical retail outlets were found to be non-compliant with consumer safety standards.
LEDs have come as a boon for millions of people in India and their advantages have been recognised even by the government, which is currently taking measures to increase the uptake of this energy-efficient source of lighting. However, the manufacturing of LEDs in India is still at its nascent stages and most of the demand is met through the import of LED bulbs and tubes from other countries, mainly China. This dependence on imports has made it difficult to manage the quality of lights being brought into the country and sold thereafter with the branding of Indian companies.Due to this, consumers end up spending on low-quality products that don’t last long and create a bad name for the LED industry as a whole. It creates skewed competition amongst stakeholders, and presents a distorted image of the industry.
Nielsen saw a similar trend in a study it undertook across eight major Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Durgapur, Bareilly, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. The study revealed that 47% of LED bulb brands and 52% of LED downlighter brands across 400 electrical retail outlets were found to be non-compliant with consumer safety standards. The manufacturers of lighting products have to comply with the prescribed and mandated standards of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India. Such spurious products are a safety hazard for consumers besides causing significant loss in tax revenues for the Government of India, as they are illegally manufactured and sold.
In LED Bulbs category, Hyderabad had the highest non-compliance levels in BIS mark at 57% and Ahmedabad at 60% had the highest non-compliance levels in legal metrology. Whereas in the LED Downlighter category, Bareilly had the highest non-compliance in BIS mark at 78% and Mumbai topped the charts in non-compliance in legal metrology at 78%.
As per this study, more than half of LED bulb brands surveyed in New Delhi (52%) did not conform to BIS standards (absence of the BIS mark) and same is the case when it comes to LED downlighters (58%). 36% of the LED bulb brands and 58% of LED Downlighter brands surveyed did not follow legal metrology guidelines in the national capital.
(The illustration on the top shows the details about city-wise nature of violations and puts the data for non-compliant brands across both the segments in a national context.)
As per ELCOMA (Electric Lamp and Component Manufacturers’ Association), the total LED market in India is worth Rs. 11,400 crores, with LED bulbs and downlighters constituting 72% of the overall LED market, being widely used across homes, offices and workspaces.
Raju Bista, President, ELCOMA and Managing Director of Surya Roshni Ltd said “These non-compliant manufacturers don’t follow mandated safety procedures and hence the products manufactured by them are not only unsafe but also less energy efficient. This will negatively impact the government’s focus on promoting energy efficient products and harm the image of the LED industry.”
Commenting on the subject, SumitPadmakar Joshi, Vice President of ELCOMA and CEO, Signify Innovations India Ltd. (formerly known as Philips Lighting India) said, “The LED industry has grown significantly over the past 5-6 years and this has led to the entry of several products that are non-compliant to safety standards defined by BIS. This latest study confirms that half of the LED products sold in the country still do not adhere to consumer safety standards as defined by the Government of India. We urge the government to take stringent measures to ensure better compliance to safety standards to protect the average consumer’s interests.”
Sunil Sikka, Advisor, ELCOMA remarked, “The increase in market share of spurious lighting products is a matter of huge concern for the lighting industry, as these products not just endanger consumers, but also cause significant harm to the exchequer through non-payment of taxes. With half of the lighting products sold in the country being non-compliant to safety standards, it is important that the government steps in to prevent further damage.”
The Indian Lighting industry unanimously recommends a need for stronger enforcement of compliance to the safety standards. The illegal and low quality lights are also a threat to the government’s key programmes like Make in India. In addition to this, they also impact government’s tax revenue collections, as the companies manufacturing such products don’t fall under the purview of formal sector.It defeats investment objectives and goes against the ‘ease of doing’ business philosophy of the Government of the day.