Amendment in Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 w.e.f. April 1, 2022
The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 (‘LMPC Rules’) provides various declarations to be made on retail and wholesale packages.
Recently, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (Department of Consumer Affairs) vide Notification No. GSR 779(E) dated November 2, 2021 has notified the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Amendments Rules, 2021, which will come into force w.e.f. April 1, 2022. Key amendments are as follows:
- All commodities can be packed and sold in any pack size without any special declaration
- Rule 5 of the LMPC Rules is omitted to remove requirement for certain commodities to be packed in standard quantities as specified in Second Schedule. Earlier commodities like Baby Foods, Biscuits, Coffee, Tea, Aerated Soft Drinks, Cement, Paint Varnish etc. were covered under Second Schedule.
NITYA Comments: This change will allow all commodities to be packed in any pack size. Earlier, these products could only have been packed and sold in standard quantities as per Second Schedule or with a declaration ‘Non-standard size under LMPC Rules’.
- Month and year of manufacturing required to be mentioned on all packages
- Rule 6(1)(d) of the LMPC Rules is amended to remove flexibility to mention month and year of packing or import. As a result, month and year of manufacturing needs to be mentioned on all domestic and imported packages.
NITYA Comments: This change will significantly increase compliance burden as month and year of manufacturing will not be readily available in all cases. Packers / Importers will have to rely on manufacturers (including foreign manufacturers) for getting this information which will impede supply chains.
Various importers also undertake operations on imported goods like cutting of jumbo roll of paper into sheets etc. which do not qualify as manufacturing activity. Hence, Month & Year of manufacturing of main goods needs to be mentioned.
- Manner of writing Retail Sale Price simplified
- Rule 6(1)(e) of the LMPC Rules is amended to provide that package shall indicate Retail Sale Price inclusive of all taxes in Indian currency without any prescription of format.
- Requirement to round off rupees and paise to nearest rupee or 50 paise has also been removed.
- In addition, Rule 6(11) of the LMPC Rules is inserted to provide declaration of Unit Sale Price in format of ‘Rs. ___ per g’, ‘Rs. ____ per kg’, ‘Rs. ___ per number’ etc.
NITYA Comments: Simplification in declaring Retail Sale Price will reduce disputes raised by authorities on manner of declaring Retail Sale Price. On the other hand, need of declaration of Per Unit Sale Price will increase compliance burden though it will ease comparison of prices of various products of different weights.
- Change in manner of mentioning Symbol of Units for commodities sold by number
- Rule 13(5)(ii) of the LMPC Rules is amended to provide that quantity can be mentioned in number or unit or piece or pair or set or such other word representing quantity in package for commodities sold by number. Earlier, only ‘N’ or ‘U’ was permitted.
NITYA Comments: This change will enable use of units prevalent in commercial sense. Unit can be mentioned in any manner as long as it represents quantity in package. It is suggested that no abbreviation should be used while declaring quantity like Nos., Pcs. etc.
NITYA Overall Comments: These changes are significant and have far-reaching implications for the industry. Companies need to consider that entire business may come to standstill if packages are non-compliant post April 1, 2022. Accordingly, Companies need to meticulously plan their supply chain including packaging and related changes. Companies must assess implications of these changes and take timely action to ensure that new requirements of the LMPC Rules are met.