“We require standards not only for global markets but also for Indian consumers and the challenge is huge. I support minimum intervention of the government” said Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India while delivering her inaugural address at the 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 on June 23, 2016.
The Minister added that India is capable of setting standards and internationalize them. India has achieved highest standards in healthcare, IT & ITeS, higher education, outer space, etc. at frugal price. She reiterated that the Bureau of Indian Standards will have to do a lot of catching up as standards development is a dynamic process. It will also need to step up coordination with the various ministries.
Ms. Sitharaman further added that India needs to develop its own rigid standards and the set norms below which imports would not be allowed. This, in her view, was necessary to stop undesirable and poor quality products from entering the country. She stressed on the need to provide handholding to MSMEs to improve quality and standards and thereby access global markets.
Ms Rita Teaotia, Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry stated that India needs to set up a standards ecosystem. She stressed on the need for a single set of standards for the international and domestic markets.
The Commerce Secretary pointed out that the mega regional trade agreements including Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), etc. are likely to be driven by standards, compliance and conformity assessment. Standards will be much more widespread and Indian Industry needs to adapt to this changed scenario.
The Commerce Secretary added that the standards infrastructure such as testing, certification, labelling, etc. needs to be further improved in India. According to her, the Make in India initiative has provided a sharp focus on quality through the Zero Defect, Zero Effect initiative. By amending the BIS Act, the government has now been empowered to develop global standards, she stated. 137 items and three services sector – Tourism, Healthcare and Education have been brought under technical regulation, she stated.
In her address, Ms Alka Panda, Director General, Bureau of Indian Standards, stated that standards enable substantial transfer of technology and raise the ability of various countries to compete globally. It is important that India now contributes to the development of international standards. She called for the need to create synergy between the various standard formulating agencies in India and create a single Standard Development Agency.
According to Mr Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, QCI, India produces high quality goods in some sectors such as generic medicines, healthcare and automobiles. He felt that if the right ecosystem and incentives are provided, India can achieve international standards in all sectors.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr Shreekant Somany, Immediate Past Chairman, CII Northern Region and Chairman and Managing Director, Somany Ceramics pointed out that India would need to comply with international standards to increase exports and be part of Global Supply Chains. It would also help the manufacturing sector grow, reduce information asymmetry and reduce overall transaction costs.
June 23, 2016