The Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers’ Association (ADMA) is flexing its muscles to oppose the implementation of the certification scheme for which the union commerce ministry has come out with a draft notification recently. Though the association is demanding a total overhaul of the proposal, it is especially annoyed with the proposal of certification fee which has been fixed at 0.2 to 0.4 per cent of the FOB value of the consignment.
Opposing the proposal tooth and nail, ADMA general secretary Ranjit Puranik said that the association will not accept the proposal at its present form. “There is no question of accepting the proposal of certification fee at 0.2 to 0.4 FOB value of the consignment which is not viable to the industry. The association is not even ready to discuss the issue. Instead there should be a token fee like in the case of GSP at Rs 150 per invoice,” Puranik said.
As per the proposal, every ayurveda exporter has to get his products tested in the NABL-accredited laboratories before the shipment of the products to its destinations. For testing the products, a certification fee ranging from 0.2 to 0.4 per cent of the FOB value of the consignment has to be paid by the exporters to the Export Inspection Council, an export inspection arm of the union commerce ministry.
Industry sources said that in rupee terms, the minimum certification fee comes around Rs 13,500 for every consignment which is not financially viable to the industry. The ayurveda export business, which is at its nascent stage, has to cater to even to the small orders because the exporters are not selling the products, instead they are selling a concept to other countries. Under the proposal, for sending an export consignment of Rs 500, the exporter has to spend Rs 13,500 as certification fee which is totally unacceptable, industry sources said.
Juxtaposing the expenses and the benefits of the certification scheme, exporters are of the view that by introducing the certification fee, the union commerce ministry becomes a partner in ayurveda exporting without any responsibility. What steps the ministry will take if the product is rejected by some countries on the grounds of contents? will the government intervene?, the exporters ask.
Then again the onus of proving quality will fall on the exporters. Then why should the industry spend so much on this scheme, especially when the exporters have their own laboratories which are manufactured under the Schedule T of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, the exporters reason.
Instead of the percentage-wise fees, the government should levy a token fee just on the lines of GSP Form A where the fee is Rs 150 per invoice, industry sources said.