By Vikrant Rana and Rupin Chopra
Bureau of Indian Standards (hereinafter referred to as ‘BIS’) is a statutory body established under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’). BIS prescribes the standards for covering goods and systems under the standardization regime. Under the Act, BIS has been identified as the ‘National Standards Body of India’ and is regulated under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Government of India.
Functions of BIS
BIS through its core activities of standardization and conformity assessment, has been benefiting the economy by providing safe and reliable and quality goods; minimizing health hazards to consumers; protecting the environment, promoting exports and imports substitute; controlling proliferation of varieties etc. The standards and certification scheme of BIS apart from benefitting the consumers and industry also support various public policies especially in areas of product safety, consumer protection, food safety, environment protection, building and construction, etc.
BIS carries out various activities like that of standards formulation, product certification, hallmarking, laboratory services, training services, etc. However, the primary and most recognized objective of BIS is to formulate and prescribe the standards for products for their certification. BIS also ensures the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods.
The following schemes of certification are covered under BIS
- Product Certification Scheme – Applicable for tangible products; with some products classified under compulsory certification.
- System Certification Scheme – Applicable for systems/ process
- Foreign Manufacturers Certification Scheme – Applicable for foreign manufacturers who are engaged in the sale of their products in India.
- Hallmarking – Applicable for articles made from precious metals like gold and silver
- ECO Mark Scheme – Applicable for products affecting or related to the environment
Obtaining the BIS registration is essentially voluntary in nature. However, BIS requires compulsory certification for products which impact the health and safety of consumers. Mandatory certification scheme is bifurcated into ISI (Indian Standards Institute) Mark Scheme and Compulsory Certification Scheme (collectively referred to as ‘Standard Mark’). ISI Mark Scheme is applicable for products such as cement, electrical appliances, baby food, etc. and Compulsory Certification is required mostly for IT/ electronic products. For procurement of the BIS certificate, the manufacturer has to ensure that the product is in compliance with the ‘Indian Standard’.
‘Indian Standard’ has been defined under the Act as the standard set and published by the BIS, with regards to any article or process which is indicative of the quality and specification of such article or process and also includes: (i) Any standard recognized by the BIS and (ii) Any standard established and published, or recognized, by the ISI and which is in force immediately before the date of establishment of BIS.
|BIS Mark – for electronics|
Offences, Punishment and Enforcement Activity
The Act empowers BIS to pass orders granting, suspending or rejecting a license. Any violation of the provisions of the Act and the non-compliance with the standards set by BIS is punishable with either imprisonment for a period of one year or with a fine extending up to INR 50,000.
BIS also carries out enforcement activity to curb the use of Standard Mark or its imitation by unscrupulous traders and manufacturers not holding a valid BIS license. The objective behind these enforcement activities is to protect consumers from being misled about quality of products that are marked with the BIS Standard Mark. Enforcement raids, which include search and seizure operations are carried out against traders and manufacturers on the basis of intelligence collected regarding misuse of the Standard Mark and where required, prosecution cases are filed in the court of law.
BIS is responsible for the quality check of various products and services across 14 different sectors. The quality certification of these products safeguard people from several health and safety hazards. In the era of globalization and the growing importance of ensuring conformity with standards in global trade, BIS has huge significance and responsibility. The conformity assessment procedures have become increasingly important in the modern day and hence, BIS plays a critical role in strengthening Indian trade and exports. The Product Certification Scheme is regarded as one of the biggest around the world, with around 26500 licensees covering no less than 900 products. BIS Certification is fundamental to the use of the mark on their products.