By Vikrant Rana and Rupin Chopra
The Bureau of Indian Standards (hereinafter referred to as ‘BIS’) through BIS Act, 2016 operates a product certification scheme for standardization of goods that enter the market for sale to consumers. The Government had introduced the product certification scheme to ensure that goods made available to consumers are of a standard quality and safe for being used, as per the prescribed standards/ parameters. These parameters/ standards prescribed by BIS, have to be adhered to prior to the products being made available to consumers.
The product certification scheme under BIS requires the manufacturers to obtain the registration prior to the sale of products in the market. The registration is essentially voluntary in nature. However, keeping into consideration the public health and safety concerns, the government has identified certain products that require mandatory certification.
BIS grants a license on application basis, although the execution of compulsory certification is maintained by competent authorities as notified in the Quality Control Orders provided by the Government from time to time. BIS operates the certification scheme through a network of 34 Branch Offices (BO) set up in different State capitals or major industrial towns and 5 Regional Offices (RO) overseeing the work of the branch offices. Further, to ensure that the required standards are adhered, BIS has identified testing laboratories for undertaking the testing of products.
Under the product certification scheme, BIS grants the certification to use the standard quality mark for products. However, the mark can only be granted post confirmation that the product adheres to the standards prescribed by BIS for such product. The product certification scheme aims at providing third party assurance of quality, safety and reliability of the products to the consumer. The presence of the certification mark, on a product is an assurance of conformity of the specifications.
How to obtain Product Certificate Scheme?
BIS can either be obtained through ‘Normal Procedure’ or ‘Simplified Procedure’. Under the Normal Procedure, license is granted provided preliminary inspection is satisfactory, samples drawn are found to be conforming to the prescribed standards, the applicant adheres to the defined schemes of testing and the payment of marking fee is complete.
Under the Simplified Procedure, the applicant is required to submit test report/s from designated laboratories along with the application. License is granted provided the testing of products is found to be satisfactory, applicant agrees to implement the defined schemes of testing and payment of marking fee is completed.
The product certification is valid for a period of 2 years and can be subsequently renewed on completion of 2 years and payment of the renewal fee.
Even though product certification is voluntary, the government has listed out certain categories of products that require compulsory certification.
Compulsory Registration Scheme for Electronic Products
In 2012 Compulsory Registration Scheme (CRS) was introduced by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) now called Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) along with BIS. The CRS initially covered 15 electronic and consumer products and added another 15 products in 2014. Under CRS it is mandatory for manufacturers to get their products registered before launching them in market. Products such as mobile phones, laptops, adapters, tablets, power banks, etc. are covered under CRS.
ISI (Indian Standards Institute) mark is a product certification scheme by BIS. ISI mark is used for industrial items in India post ascertainment of the product’s compliance with the required standards. The ISI mark is compulsory for certain items to be sold in India. The ISI mark can only be used on products post grant of license from the BIS.
The product certification scheme of BIS aims at providing Third Party Guarantee of quality, safety and reliability of products to the customer. Presence of ISI certification mark, known as Standard Mark, on a product is an assurance of conformity to the specifications. The conformity is ensured by regular surveillance of the licensee’s performance by surprise inspections of products and testing of samples, drawn both from the market and factory. The manufacturer is permitted to self-certify the licensed products after ascertaining its conformity to the standards.
On April 29 2019, BIS laid down the guidelines for Grant of License (hereinafter referred to as ‘GoL’) for an ISI mark. BIS grants a licence based on successful assessment of the manufacturing infrastructure, production process, quality control, and testing capabilities of a manufacturer through a visit to its manufacturing premises. Conformity of the product to the relevant standard(s) is also established through third party laboratory testing or testing in the manufacturing premises or a combination of both.
An application for GoL can be obtained in two ways:
The application shall be made as specified in BIS Conformity Assessment Regulations 2018. Subsequently, a visit is made to the factory of the applicant for assessment of the manufacturing infrastructure, production process, quality control and testing capabilities, and samples will be drawn for testing in third party testing laboratories.
The application shall be made as specified in BIS Conformity Assessment Regulations, 2018. Along with the above application, the applicant is required to submit the conforming test report(s) of the product samples manufactured by the applicant and raw material(s) (if applicable) issued by a third party testing laboratory. Subsequently, a visit is made to the factory of the applicant for assessment of the manufacturing infrastructure, production process, quality control and testing capabilities, and drawing of samples for testing in the third party testing laboratories.
The license to use the ISI mark is granted for not less than one year and up to two years. The ISI mark license can also be renewed for a period of minimum one year and up to five years.
Misuse of ISI mark and consumer complaints
In case of any complaint regarding the quality of products with ISI mark, the consumer may contact the nearest office of the BIS.
After receipt of the complaint, BIS provides redressal by way of replacement/repair of the product in case the complaint is found to be genuine. Necessary actions are taken to ensure that corrective measures are followed by erring manufacturers in order to ensure that consumers do not face inconvenience.
Section 33 of the BIS Act, lays down penalties for any person using the ISI mark in contravention of the provisions of the BIS Act. Such person shall either be punishable with an imprisonment of one year or fine of Rs. 50,000 or with both.
List of products that require mandatory ISI certification
|Cement||Different kinds of Portland cement, sulphated cement|
|Household Electrical Goods||RCCB, RCVO, lamps, iron, water heaters, electric stoves, room heaters, switches, cables, batteries|
|Food and Related Products||baby formula, processed cereal based foods, different kinds of milk-powder, various kinds of condensed milk, packaged natural mineral water, infant milk substitutes, milk-cereal based weaning foods, hexane, food grade, plastic feeding bottles,|
|Diesel Engines||Performance requirements for Constant speed compression ignition (diesel) engines for general Purposes (up to 19 kW)|
|Oil Pressure Stove||Offset burner, multi-burner oil pressure stove|
|Automobile Accessories||Pneumatic tyre tubes and it sub-categories|
|Cylinder accessories||LPG Cylinders, Valves and Regulators|
|Medical equipment||Thermometers, Medical x-ray|
|Steel Products||steel tubes, steel bars, steel wires, galvanized steel sheets, steel ply, structural steel|
|Electric Transformers||Outdoor type Oil immersed Distribution Transformers upto and including 2500 kVA|
The official website of Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) can be accessed here
 BIS Guidelines for Grant of License No. CMD-I/2:12:1, April 12, 2019