On 14th July, 2022, the Department of Consumer Affairs notified, with immediate effect, the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022 (“Second Amendment Rules”). The Second Amendment Rules allow certain mandatory declarations (that are otherwise required to be made on the label on a packaged commodity) to be made through a QR Code on product packaging of electronic products for a period of one year (on a trial basis), if not declared on the package itself.
Presently, the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 (“LMPC Rules”) under Rule 6 (1) require specific declarations to be mandatorily made on product packaging. This mandatory requirement, for limited declarations and subject to underlying conditions specified vide the Second Amendment Rules, stands temporarily eased for a period of one year, i.e., till the 15th July, 2023, only for electronic products. It is worth noting that the LMPC Rules accommodate QR Code placement on product packaging irrespective of the category of products under Rule 6 (4A), however the same can be placed by a manufacturer, packer or importer only in addition to the aforementioned mandatory declarations under Rule 6 (1) and not in place of them.
The Second Amendment Rules are purported to be a pilot project aimed at familiarizing the average consumer with the option of accessing information through a QR Code. The Second Amendment Rules therefore require a declaration to be made on the product packaging to inform the consumers to scan the QR code for other related information in case such information is declared through the QR Code and not declared on the package itself.
The temporary allowance (for a period of one year from 15th July, 2022) providing the option to use QR Codes under the Second Amendment Rules is limited to –
- The address of the manufacturer/packer/importer
- The common or generic name of the commodity and where such package contains more than one product, then for the name and number or quantity of each product
- Size and dimension of the commodity
- Name and address of the person/office that can be contacted in case of consumer complaints
While the allowances introduced under the Second Amendment Rules appear to be a pilot project attempting to understand the ability of a consumer to access mandatory declarations on a label through the use of QR Codes, the temporary nature of the allowances may pose to be an inconvenience on manufacturers, importers or packers to implement changes on the product label that will entail serious production and packaging related effort and costs. It remains to be seen whether relevant stakeholders will be willing to make the effort and put in the required costs to carry out these packaging related changes on their labels for an allowance that may be temporary in nature and may not be renewed after a period of one year. While declarations made through QR Codes enable relevant stakeholders to effectively and in a compact manner declare important information, a temporary allowance that has the potential to be withdrawn after a period of one year may pose to be a deterrent. Given that the world is moving towards technology driven solutions and that consumers have become increasingly technologically savvy, it would be useful to implement the QR Code allowances on a permanent basis for the purposes of pushing the Government of India’s initiative of enabling ease of doing business in India.
Link to press release: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1842006