76% of LED bulbs sold in India spurious, lack certification: survey

In another indication of how shoddy manufacturing standards are hampering the government's 'make in India' programme, a Nielson study has found that LED bulb manufacturers across the country are flouting Bureau of Indian Standards norms.

In the study conducted across four major cities - New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Hyderabad - 76 per cent of light-emitting diode (LED) bulb brands and 71 per cent of LED downlighter brands across 200 electrical retail outlets were found to be non-compliant with consumer safety standards as prescribed for lighting products by the BIS and the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Delhi heads the list with the highest number of violations.

According to the Electric Lamp and Component Manufacturers' Association (ELCOMA), ''These spurious products pose a serious safety hazard for consumers, besides causing a significant loss in tax revenues for the Government of India as they are illegally manufactured and sold.''

The findings showed that 48 per cent of LED bulbs in the key markets had no mention of the manufacturer's address and 31 per cent brands did not have the manufacturer's name.

These brands, therefore, violate Indian legal metrology regulations and are manufactured illegally.

Similarly, the study of LED downlighters showed that in the sample size, 45 per cent brands did not have the manufacturer's name and 51 per cent brands had no mention of the manufacturer's address.

According to the study, almost three-quarters of LED bulb brands surveyed in the National Capital Region (73 per cent) did not conform to the BIS standards (absence of the BIS mark) and the same is the case with LED downlighters.

In Hyderabad, seven out of every 10 LED bulbs examined appeared to deviate from minimum safety standards. About 69 per cent of LED bulbs and 65 per cent LED downlighters did not have BIS clearance.

According to ELCOMA, the LED market in India is worth Rs 10,000 crore, with LED bulbs and downlighters constituting 50 per cent of the overall LED market. They are widely used in homes, offices, and workspaces.

Rakesh Zutshi, president, ELCOMA and managing director of Halonix Technologies, said, ''This threatens fair competition in the LED lighting market, especially for those companies that are compliant with all mandatory consumer safety standards. It is very unlikely that the manufacturers of these spurious products pay the Goods and Services Tax.''

Sumit Joshi, vice-chairman and MD, Philips Lighting India, said, ''According to an ELCOMA study, the Indian LED lighting market has grown from Rs500 crore in 2010 to Rs10,000 crore today and constitutes over 45 per cent of the overall Rs 22,000 crore lighting industry in India. LED lighting will constitute a majority share of the lighting market in the next few years. It is important for the government to act against these spurious and non-branded products.''

Sunil Sikka, former president, ELCOMA, who represents Havells India also, said, ''The market share of spurious and non-compliant LED products is steadily increasing. This is also a huge concern for the average consumer because 76 per cent of LED brands and 71 per cent of downlight brands do not adhere to consumer safety standards. This has led to an increase of unsafe and illegal products being used in households and offices.''

In a statement, ELCOMA recommended that stronger enforcement of compliance with safety standards should be enforced. ''The spurious and non-branded LED products are a serious threat to not just the organised and compliant market players but also to the government's key programmes ... in addition, they also impact government's tax revenue collections,'' it said.