“Standards in India are relatively low vis-a-vis big economies of the world and since import tariffs are vanishing, importance of standards as a barrier to trade is growing”, said Mr. P K Sinha, Cabinet Secretary, Government of India. “There is a need for Government standard setting bodies and Industry to work together to formulate standards in India”, he further emphasised. Mr. Sinha was speaking at the 3rd Standards Conclave 2016 being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in cooperation with the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi .
He stated that while India had become pro-active in setting standards in response to the Mega Regional Trading Agreements (RTAs), but India need to act fast on it . In this new paradigm of trade, India needs to step up its game in terms of strengthening its standards regime. He observed that formulation of standards led to greater value addition and would help Indian industry to move up the value chain and produce high quality products. This, in turn would help boost “Brand India”.
He called for Indian standard setting bodies to formulate standards in a speedy and time bound manner so that the market for that product is not lost completely. He also called for Indian standard setting bodies to develop strong networks with the international standard setting bodies so that to they can exercise influence in global standard setting.
In her address, Ms. Rita Teaotia, Secretary, Department of Commerce stated that India is a poorly regulated country as far as standards are concerned. We do not cover many of the sectors/products. She stressed on the need for strong regulators to make these standards in technical regulations a reality.
The Commerce Secretary highlighted that following the outcomes of the first two conclaves, the Amendment to the BIS Act was passed in 2016. Another major step which was undertaken was the introduction of a product liability chapter in the Consumer Protection Act. She stressed on the need for a clear demarcation of roles of the various standard setting bodies and a more concerted effort to develop standards for the services sector.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII stated that this year’s Conclave identified two important areas for focus – preparing MSMEs for better standard compliance and the important role of states in developing an effective national standard ecosystem with an aim to enhance exports.