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India: Calls to regulate and standardise consumables

May 22, 2020

Indian media channels call for regulation of the pricing of printer-cartridges and standardisation to drastically cut prices.

An article featuring in several Indian media channels calls for the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to call a meeting of domestic and international printer-manufacturers to minimise types of ink-cartridges. The article states that ”HP has too many types of ink-cartridges of similar shape and size for their vast range of inkjet and laser printers.”  The article suggests that “It is not difficult to standardise so many ink-cartridges in a limited number to be used uniformly in different models of inkjet and laser printers. Such standardisation will heavily bring down cost of ink-cartridges.”

According to the article Hewlett-Packard (HP) is the largest seller of computer-printers in the Indian market has an “exorbitantly high” Maximum-Retail-Price (MRP) on ink-cartridges and cites that OEM “original cartridges available in wholesale markets of Nehru place and Nai Sarak in Delhi at much-much less than printed MRP.”

The article continues “Even wholesale price for its ink-cartridges remains much higher around rupees 3000 ($39.71/ €36.22) making some Indian manufacturers marketing re-filled cartridges at around rupees 700 ($9.26/ €8.45) or so. Even re-fill can be done at just rupees 200 ($2.65/ €2.41) or so. But using re-filled ink-cartridges result in termination of warranty.”

The article seeks “condition should be imposed to allow manufacture of ink-cartridges in India” and that “Indian companies should also be authorised refill ink-cartridges without affecting warranty of printers.” The article also calls for “Any foreign company [most OEMs] selling its products manufactured in country other than that of the company, should be asked to set up its manufacturing unit in India like was done by Samsung to set up biggest unit for mobile-phones in the world in Noida (UP-India).”

OEMs in India are under more constant scrutiny. Recently an article on contendsthe [GeM] platform is being manipulated by the OEM”, now the portal has two separate classifications for printer consumables of “OEM Cartridges/consumable” and “Compatibles”. The article alleges that the OEMs “extract unrealistic and unjustified prices from the government”.

Editor’s Opinion: India is a significant market for the OEMs and the competition is fierce between OEMs, new build imports and domestic refilling and remanufacturing. Speaking recently India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said “The state of the world today teaches us that a “Self-reliant India” is the only path.” Speaking further the Prime Minister said “the Corona crisis has also explained to us the importance of Local manufacturing, Local market and Local supply chain. In times of crisis, this Local has fulfilled our demand, this Local has saved us. Local is not just the need, it is our responsibility also.” The Indian Government is the largest buyer of printers and consumables and under the countries “Make In India programme” OEMs may come under pressure to manufacture in India products for the Indian market.

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