The Legal Metrology Act 2009 regulates the import, sale, and distribution of pre-packaged commodities in India. Any product of a predetermined quantity, when packed in the absence of a purchaser, is a pre-packaged product. Registration under this Act establishes a strong impression of consumer awareness and reduction of unfair trade practices pertaining to such products.
Importance of Legal Metrology in Modern Trade
In general terms, metrology is a science of measurement. Legal metrology revolves around the mandates laid on trade of instruments categorized under ‘weights and measures’ such as weighing machines, and thermometer. It also lays control over the trade of packaged goods quantified by weight, measure, or number.
When consumers purchase pre-packaged goods from the market, they have the right to information related to the weight of the package, price, expiry date, etc. Hence, legal metrology has significant importance in promoting fair trade practices.
Mentioned below are some essential factors highlighting the importance of legal metrology in modern trade.
Promoting Trade by Eliminating Disputes Regulatory control over measurement eliminates disputes in trade. For instance, if a consumer buys 1 kg of lentils, he/she should receive the exact measurement in the package and not anything less. Moreover, legal metrology ensures meeting international standards and using authentic measuring instruments.
Proper Management of Inventory The practice of correct measurement of commodities provides an exact structure of available inventory for manufacturers. This initiates better stock control, lowers fraudulent activities and helps manage stock systems with increased efficacy.
Collection of Government Revenues Measurement plays a pivotal role in the collection of excise and customs duties, which contributes to the greater part of the Government’s revenue. Excise duty is imposed on products manufactured in the country while customs duty is applicable on goods imported from other manufacturing countries. Hence, authentic weighing of goods ensures the collection of these Government revenues in a bona fide manner.
What is LMPC Certificate?
The full form of LMPC certificate is Legal Metrology Packaged Commodities certificate, which is a mandatory requirement for importing pre-packaged goods. According to the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, all packers and importers of pre-packaged products must register themselves under the rule 27 Legal Metrology Packaged Commodities Rules, 2011. Applications for this registration must be made within 90 days from initiating import operations.
Obtaining an LMPC certificate means authentic and accurate handling of goods having correct measurements. Although, packers importing goods weighing 10 grams/milliliters or less, and agricultural products weighing more than 50 kgs are exempted from obtaining the LMPC certificate.
Why is LMPC Certificate Necessary?
Rule 27 of the Legal Metrology Packaged Commodity Rules mandates acquiring LMPC certificate before importing of pre-packaging goods for sale or distribution in the country.
According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, such importers or manufacturers engaged in selling pre-packaged commodities in one state must apply to the Controller of Legal Metrology in that specific state.
On the other hand, importers must register with the Director at the Center if they’re engaged in selling in more than one state. The same is also applicable for local manufacturers who sell their products in multiple states.
Responsibilities of an LMPC-certified Importer/Manufacturer
It is the importer/manufacturer's responsibility to make a declaration on all pre-packaged commodities with the following information:
- Name and address of importer and manufacturer
- General name of goods contained in the package
- Country of import
- Total quantity with respect to standard units of measurement or weights
- Date of import and manufacture
- Maximum Retail Price (MRP)
- Size and dimension of the goods
- Contact details of a concerned person or office in case of any consumer complaints
The declaration can be printed in Hindi or English; however, it is mandatory to maintain a given structure to be displayed on the packaging.
A violation of the Legal Metrology Packaged Commodity Rules will attract fines which can extend up to Rs. 4,000. Additionally, if an importer applies for an LMPC certificate post 90 days of commencing imports, a late fine will be imposed.
Process of Application for LMPC Certificates
The application for LMPC certificates in a majority of the states can be done through the online portal of the respective State Governments. At the time of application, one needs to enter the following details on the respective fields:
- Name of the applicant
- Generic name of the commodity imported or pre-packaged
- Address of the premises where the commodity is to be imported
The applicants need to be prepared with the required documents and a registration fee while applying for the same. Application through online portals encourages paperless and hassle-free processes, thereby saving a considerable amount of time.
However, in states where options for online application are not present, importers or manufacturers can visit the office of the Legal Metrology Department with the necessary documents.
Documents Required to Obtain LMPC Certificates
The following basic documents are required for LMPC registration in a majority of states in India:
- Identify and address proof
- Certificate of GST registration
- Aadhaar number
- IEC or Importer-Exporter Code
- Applicant’s passport size photograph
- Declaration sample to be tagged along with the goods
- For a company, a copy of a memorandum of articles needs to be attached
For a partnership firm, a copy of the registered partnership deed needs to be attached Some of the required documents for LMPC registration may vary across states. For example, in Delhi, applicants must submit additional documents like a license of trade, packing labels pasted on the packages, proof of commercial area (if any), etc.
Online Application of LMPC Certificate – Format & Cost
With the inception of the Digital India concept, several Indian states are providing online services for the application process of LMPC certificates. This process of application runs through the official portal of the respective states. To complete this application, importers, packers, and manufacturers must submit a nominal fee of Rs.500.
On receiving the application, the registering authority reviews the documents and grants the certificate. Also, this process of review generally takes 20 days.
The general format of LMPC certificate has been provided below:
Being registered under the Legal Metrology Act and acquiring the LMPC certification demonstrates the authentic business practices adopted in cross-border trades. Importers must register their trades within the time limit prescribed in order to avoid paying a penalty.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I get a metrology certificate in Delhi?
Applicants with a business unit located in Delhi can apply through the online portal of the Legal Metrology Department in Delhi. The registration fees for manufacturers, importers, and packers are Rs.500, whereas for repairers and dealers, it is Rs.100. However, there are some essential points to consider before submitting the form:
All documents required must be self-attested and uploaded in PDF format, which should not be more than 2 MB.
To upload passport size photographs, the format should be in .jpg.
Documents required for application are:
- Trade or factory license
- Proof of residential address
- GST/ Sales Tax Registration
- Packing labels pasted on the packages
- For a company, submit a memorandum of association, and for partnership firms, submit the registered partnership deed.
- Import-Export Code
2. How can I get a metrology certificate in Tamil Nadu?
Applicants located in Tamil Nadu have to apply for the LMPC certificate in person by visiting the office of the Assistant Controller of Legal Metrology. Application forms and detailed information about documents are available with the governing office.
3. Who is authorised to grant an LMPC certificate?
The Controller of Legal Metrology in the State and the Director of Legal Metrology at the Centre are both authorised to grant LMPC certificates.
4. How long would it take to get an LMPC certificate?
Anywhere up to 20 days from the date of receipt of the application.