An order to ban over 1000 “imported” products by the management of Central Armed Police Forces’ (CAPF) canteen, which comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs, created considerable flutter on Monday. As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign launched by PM Narendra Modi and orders of the home ministry to use “Swadeshi” products in canteens, the order banned over 1,000 products from companies such as Dabur India Ltd, Bajaj Electricals, VIP, HUL, Wipro, Bluestar, Havells and Eureka Forbes among others.
With a potential to spark panic in the industry — given that the May 29 order came from an agency under government’s No. 2 Amit Shah and could be interpreted as a signal of official policy in future — the government swang into action quickly and withdrew the list of products annexed with the order. The order, though, continues to remain in force.
“This is clarified that the list, issued by Kendriya Police Kalyan Bhandar on 29th May 2020 regarding delisting of certain products, has been erroneously issued at the level of CEO. The list has been withdrawn and action is being initiated for the lapse,” a written statement from DG, CRPF, AP Maheshwari, who is also the chairman, of Welfare and Rehabilitation Board which runs CAPF canteens said.
The order had struck off the list of CAPF canteens many popular products which are all manufactured in India. These included some 20 odd products of Dabur India Ltd, largely its Real brand juices; over 30 products each from Bajaj Electricals and LG; over 50 products each of VIP (including its trolley bags and suitcases) and Timex group and over 100 products from Cello India.
Apart from this, the order had also banned for sale several products of Phillips, Samsung and Panasonic even as it has forbidden purchase of products such as Colgate mouthwashes, Godrej 5-star AC, Hindustan Unilever products such as Oats Horlicks, Nestle’s Maggie, Red Bull energy drink, Ariel liquid detergent, Jaquar water heaters and Hamilton flasks and jar.
Even products such as Maybelline Kajal from L’Oreal, Neelkamal chairs, Sleepwell blankets and Singer sewing machines were in the red zone. Products of Havells India, Wipro, Bluestar, Borosil, Tommy Hilfiger, Eagle home appliances and Eureka Forbes were also not welcome.
Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said while the order was okay in its wordings, the top brass was not in agreement with the list of products attached to it and that is why orders were issued to withdraw it.
The May 29 order, issued under the signatures of DIG RM Meena, the CEO of CAPF canteens, had said, “In pursuance to the decision taken by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Swadeshi Goods only will be sold through KPKB Bhandars w. e.f. 1st June 2020.”
The order basically intended to ban sale of products which were purely imported, sources said. The order made three categories of products. Category 1 consisted of products “purely made in India”. Category 2 consisted of such products where “raw materials imported but products manufactured/assembled in India”. Category 3 consisted of “purely imported products”.
The order said, “Products falling under Category 1 and Category 2 will be allowed to be on KPKB inventory and for sale through KPKB Bhandars whereas products falling under Category 3 will stand de-listed with effect from 1st June 2020 and their sale will not be allowed wef 1st June 2020.”
The order went on to even completely de-list cpmpanies with all their products falling in Category 3. “Further, the firms with all of the listed products falling under Category 3, will itself stand de-listed from KPKB Inventory wef 1st June 2020. However, the firms whose Inventory consists of mixed categories of products will be allowed to continue with KPKB but with products of Category 1 and Category 2 only,” the order.
Notably, this order still stands as only the list of products attached with it has been withdrawn. Sources said the list has been withdrawn as it had products falling in category 2 which were allowed for sale in canteens. A new list is likely to be prepared soon, sources said.
Following PM Narendra Modi’s call for going “vocal for local” last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs had asked all paramilitary forces to use only Made in Indian products. In an order issued on May 13, the Ministry had asked central armed police forces’ (CAPFs) canteens to “sell only indigenous products” beginning June 1.
The total purchase value of CAPF canteens, the MHA said, would be around Rs 2,800 crore. “With this decision, 50 lakh family members of about 10 lakh CAPF personnel will use indigenous products,” an MHA statement had said.
Referring to Modi’s address to the nation on May 12 about making India self reliant, the MHA statement had said, “In this direction today, the Ministry of Home Affairs has decided that all the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) canteens and stores across the country will now sell only indigenous products, from June 01, 2020.”
Following this order, the CAPF canteens had asked for details of products and their origin, including that of each ingredient and raw material of a product, from all companies supplying to CAPF canteens. Based on the details provided by these companies about their products, the CAPF canteen had drawn up the list.
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