BIS stands for Bureau of Indian Standards, established under the BIS Act 2006. It aims for the viable development of standardization, marking and quality certification of products. Besides, it seeks to curb the availability of generic products that pose a health risk to the end-users.
In a nutshell, BIS seeks to
- Ensure better product development
- Reduce health hazards for end-users
- Safeguard the environment
- Advocate export and import substitute
- Curb proliferation of goods
In the past few years, BIS has diverted its attention towards various national Schemes and government-backed initiatives like Digital India, Make in India, Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, and ease of doing business by providing certification and standardization of products. BIS continues to resolve the issues triggered by technological advancements and changes, environment and energy conservation, climate change, facilitation of trade, and health and safety conditions. BIS also endeavours to simplify the assessment of goods against set norms by employing more straightforward and quick processes.
An Overview on BIS Statutory Framework
The Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016, came into effect on 12 October 2017. The notable highlights of the said Act are as follow;
- Align various conformity assessment schemes with global practices
- Enables the GOI to authorize any third-party agencies to certify and enforce conformity to underlying standards.
- Enables the GOI to list products under a compulsory certification program on the ground of safety, health, national security, environment, and mitigation of deceptive practices.
- Enables the GOI to enact the hallmarking scheme for precious metals under mandatory certification.
- Provides end-user protection measures such as security against sub-standard or generic products, compensation to the end-users, etc.
A Quick Glance over the Role of BIS
Following is the Key Role of BIS in India
- Formulates and implements standards for various products with the aid of relevant government agencies/departments
- Protects the interest of end-users
- Eliminates fake and sub-standard products by mandating marking requirement
- Ensures the continual development of prevailing quality standards and brings them at par with global norms.
- Facilitate third-party lab services for product testing
- Facilitate training for standardization of product quality and marking
- Providing BIS Certification under different schemes to qualified products
To better understand the role of BIS in India, it is essential to get through different aspects of BIS as mentioned below.
Activities performed by BIS in India
The activities of BIS can be broadly grouped under the following heads:
- Standards formulation
- Product Certification
- International activities
- Laboratory services
- Training facilitation via recognized government institute
- Consumer Affairs and Publicity
Overview of BIS Applicability
BIS formulates and accordingly enacts Indian standards for various sectors grouped under 14 different departments such as
- Food and Agriculture
- Electronics & Information Technology
- Management & Systems
- Mechanical Engineering
- Production & General Engineering
- Transport Engineering
- Medical Equipment and Hospital Planning
- Petroleum Coal & Related Products
- General Engineering and Water Resources
Corresponding to the departments above, 14 division councils exist. Each of the councils has number of sectional committees functional under it. The norms cover key segments of the economy and aid the industries in improving the quality of services and products.
Cross-border activities conducted by BIS
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-
ISO is an autonomous, non-governmental enrolment institution and the world’s prominent developer of the voluntary global norm.BIS is one of the founding members of ISO and is proactively engaged in the development of global standards by serving as a Participating member or Observer member on various working groups, Technical Committees, Sub-Committees, etc.
International Electro-technical Commission (IEC)-
IEC came to effect in 1906, and it is a leading global institution for the formulation and enactment of global standards relating to electrical, electronic, and other such technologies.
Regional and Bilateral Cooperation-
BIS has been proactively engaged in the Regional and Bi-lateral Cooperation Programmes relating to testing, standardization, training, certification etc. Till now, this apex institute has entered into various MoUs with national standards bodies of many nations.
BIS also plays a pivotal role in the preparation and enactment of regional standards and conformity assessment schemes for the SAARC nations under the SARSO, i.e. South Asian Regional Standards Organization
World Trade Organization
For matters relating to Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO-TBT), BIS serves as the National Enquiry Point for WTO -TBT.
Product Certification Scheme under BIS
BIS has a scheme for ensuring compliance with Indian standards, which is known as a Product Certification Scheme. BIS standard mark affixed on the products implies conformity to the required Indian standard. Before issuing the BIS Certificate to any OEM or manufacturer, BIS makes some compliance checks relating to fundamental infrastructure and capability. It’s worth noting that the BIS certification scheme is not mandatory for all types of products.
Foreign Manufacturers Certification Scheme (FMCS)
BIS has been functioning as an autonomous scheme for overseas manufacturers to certify goods manufactured abroad. Under this scheme, manufacturers from abroad can seek BIS FMCS certification to mark or certify their product(s) with BIS standards after ensuring conformity with the provided Indian standard(s).
Declaration of Conformity
This registration scheme is a simplified process of conformity assessment. Under this scheme, manufacturers can make a declaration that their product(s) affirms the Indian standard.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) notified “Electronics and Information Technology Goods (Requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2012” on 3 October 2012, mandating Compulsory Registration from BIS for Electronics and Information Technology (IT) products. BIS had also notified a separate ‘Standard Mark’ for the Registration Scheme.
Hallmarking Scheme for Jewellers
Issuing Hallmark Certificate for Jewellery and artefacts is another crucial role of BIS in India. BIS introduced the said scheme in April 2000 to facilitate third-party assurance to end-users on the purity and fineness of the gold Jewellery. BIS also came up with another Hallmarking scheme for Silver Jewellery/artefacts five years later.
Under the said scheme, the jewellers need to apply for BIS Hallmark registration to sell hallmarked Jewellery. The assurance of the purity and fineness of Jewellery under the scheme depends on the testing conducted by the Assaying & Hallmarking (A&H) centres. These centres are BIS recognized and operate in line with hallmarking standards.
BIS Certified Testing Labs
To facilitate widespread testing coverage for certification, BIS has constituted eight labs pan India, namely;
- Central Laboratory (CL), Sahibabad;
- Western Regional Office Laboratory (WROL), Mumbai;
- Northern Regional Office Laboratory (NROL), Mohali;
- Eastern Regional Office Laboratory (EROL), Kolkata;
- Southern Regional Office Laboratory (SROL), Chennai;
- Bangalore Branch Office Laboratory (BNBOL), Bangalore;
- Patna Branch Office Laboratory (PBOL), Patna;
- Guwahati Branch Office Laboratory (GBOL), Guwahati.
Additionally, BIS has established various NABL accredited labs to conduct relevant testing activities for conformity assessment.
Role of BIS on account of Training facilitation
BIS imparts training via NITS (National Institute of Training for Training Standardization) to the management and technical officials from different sectors and nations. The institute also conducts Training Programmes for under-developed nations under various cooperation schemes of GOI.
Role of BIS on account of End-users’ affairs and publicity
BIS strives to provide awareness and advocate quality amongst all end-users via different awareness programmes:
Consumer Awareness Programmes
For advocating the notion of certification, quality and standardization among the end-users, BIS conducts a nationwide awareness program with the help of branch offices and Consumer Organizations.
Industry Awareness Programmes
To incentivize product certification, standardization, and management systems certification among relevant industries, BIS conducts Industry Awareness Programmes
Educational Utilization of Standards Programmes
BIS organizes EUS, i.e. Educational Utilization of Standards Programmes, for students and teachers of colleges, schools etc. to provide the young minds with the conceptand advantages of standardization
BIS has a dedicated portal for resolving consumers’ complaints. The registered complaints are tracked and accordingly addressed in a time-bound manner.
BIS has a separate department that deals with public relations. The said department aims at incentivizing awareness relating to various BIS activities among the key audience, including Industry and common consumers.
As an apex institution of India, BIS holds the responsibility of steering the nation towards sustainable growth via various strategies such as improving prevailing standards, incorporating new norms, and coordinating with global institutions to strengthen the existing product standardization framework. The role of BIS is not only limited to curbing the availability of generic products and providing certification to products, but also includes protection of public interest at large.
Read our Article:BIS Registration for Jewellers