NEW DELHI: It isn't just Chinese LED lights and Ganesh and Lakshmi idols that are hurting Indian manufacturers, even the Indian tricolour shipped from across the border have hit Indian players, and also violated the Flag Code, prompting the government to ban their imports into the country.

In a notification issued on Friday, the directorate general of foreign trade, prohibited import of the Indian national flag "not adhering to specifications prescribed" in the Flag Code of India.

The Code prescribes that the tricolour can only be made of hand spun and hand woven wool, cotton, silk khadi "bunting" - allowing only the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to manufacture national flags. Most of the flags you might have seen being sold at traffic crossings or outside your kid's school are either made of plastic or non-khadi fabric, resulting in a decline in sales by KVIC, which petitioned commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal last month to ban the import of flags from China and other countries. KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena had argued that the "blatant violation of the Flag Code" was impacting the livelihood of many.

During 2017-18, KVIC's flag sales were estimated at Rs 3.7 crore, which declined 14% to Rs 3.2 crore in 2018-19. In the first half of the current fiscal, sales were estimated at under Rs 2 crore.