Govt removes 1026 items from CAPF canteen in swadeshi push, then hits pause

The Home Ministry issued an order to remove ‘imported’ products being sold at canteens run for personnel of central police force personnel over the weekend but rescinded the list, reportedly after confusion over some of the products classified as imported. A government official said a reworked list would be issued soon.

The list of imported items sold at the government-run canteens had been issued to implement Home Minister Amit Shah’s orders last month that the canteen should sell only Made in India products. Shah’s decision came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to people last month to opt for ‘Made in India’ products.

The coronavirus crisis, he told the country in his televised address, has taught us that local is going to help us. “So, we should become vocal for local – not only buy local, but advertise it too,” the prime minister had said.

But figuring out which product can be classified as ‘Made in India’, or imported may have turned out to be a tad more complicated than what the officials had initially believed.

AP Maheshwari, the director general of the CRPF and head of the Welfare And Rehabilitation Board of central police forces said the order 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 The list has been withdrawn and action is being initiated for the lapse”.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 DIG rank officer RM Meena, who is the chief executive officer of the Kendriya Police Kalyan Bhandars (KPKB), had issued the order on 29 May.

The Kendriya Police Kalyan Bhandars (KPKB), the body that runs paramilitary canteens across India, had created three categories. In category 1 were produced that had been made in India from scratch. Category 2 was classified to comprise products which had been manufactured or assembled in India but the raw material was imported. Category 3 will refer to ‘Purely Imported Products’, a home ministry order seen by Hindustan Times said.

Every product sold by the canteens was classified under one of the three categories. In category 3, the KPKB identified 1,026 products that included air conditioners and televisions being sold by a South Korean company.

There were, according to the home ministry order, seven companies that had been importing finished products and rightaway selling them. Identifying these companies was the easier part of the deal.

The order had anticipated there would be some disputes and underlined that they had categorised the products “on the sole information provided by the firms only”.

“In case of any litigation, the information provided by the firm will be used as evidence and the onus to prove the information is correct will be on the respective firm,” the order said.

—Hindustan Times

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