Govt plans to extend BIS standards to 19,000 more products

19 August 2014

The government is reported to be working on a plan to bring over 19,000 products under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) label, a move that analysts say could greatly reduce the country's import bill.

The BIS standards will be applicable for both exported and imported products and, as per the proposal, failure to obtain the BIS stipulated standards will attract a jail term of one year and a fine of Rs5 lakh.

This is a well thought-out move by the government and shows the government's seriousness in making India a destination for ''zero defect'' products and ''Make in India.''

If implemented, this will not only boost India's exports by making more items acceptable in international markets, but will also help cut down imports of cheap products.

This will also provide a level playing field to Indian manufacturers who are battling cheap, low-quality imports, mainly from China.

Indian manufacturers also will have to upgrade their manufacturing practices to BIS standards, which could make their products more expensive.

Implementation of the strategy, however, will not be easy as the government will have to set up the necessary infrastructure to ensure that the cheap goods that come into the country adhere to BIS standards.

On ground, it may seem simple as there are several agencies overseas that provide such certification. BIS, however, needs to ensure that such agencies elsewhere meet its standards.

Also, while global agencies like the US FDA or Europe's certified equipment (CE) body have their representatives in India, BIS would also have to ensure that it has agencies, say in China, at the factory level, to certify goods being exported to India. This will be a difficult task, but worth pursuing.

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