Third edition of the Standards Roundtable provided industries with an unique platform to share feedback with the government to enhance global and local competitiveness through consensus-based standardisation in India
The Quality Council of India and UL, an independent, global safety science company, concluded the third edition of the Standards Roundtable, an unique event that brings together government agencies and industry associations to further the quality ecosystem in the country through standardisation.
Chaired by the Ministry of Commerce and moderated by the Quality Council of India (QCI) and UL, the Standards Roundtable saw active participation of government agencies such as the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), and 16 industry associations representing diverse sectors, as well as premier industry bodies such as the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
A critical agenda of the Standards Roundtable was the draft Indian National Standards Strategy (INSS) released by the Ministry of Commerce recently. The draft INSS focuses on, among other objectives, ‘using standards as an enhancer for competitiveness in the domestic and international markets’ and ‘adopting best practices in standardisation, conformity assessment and technical regulations, and creating an integrated infrastructure, roadmaps and institutions for their effective management’.
While India today has more than 19,000 standards, around 5,000 of them are updated and about 135 are mandated for regulation. A phased approach to increase the level of regulation to match other comparable markets will give the domestic industry the right impetus to compete on global as well as domestic scale.
Following detailed talks, participants of the Roundtable agreed to share their inputs about the draft INSS document. Commenting on the first-of-its-kind effort by the government to devise a comprehensive Standards strategy, Anil Jauhri, CEO, National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies, India said, “The government is actively pushing the Standards agenda, and hopefully, with the draft INSS, where the roles of each stakeholder are clearly defined, we can create an action plan to further standardisation in India with greater participation from the industries.”
Other strategic discussions in the event under the theme, ‘Accelerating Standards Development For Building Brand India’ centred around speeding up the process of creating domestically relevant, technologically sound, science-based and globally harmonized standards that can foster better safety, sustainability and healthy outcomes for the country. Experts reiterated the need for the industry to proactively support the standardization program of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
The Roundtable also discussed an accreditation process for Standards Development Organizations (SDO), so that the industry-level standards developed through a consensus-based approach can be recognized and potentially adopted as the National Standards – a practice followed in several mature markets.
Commenting on the landmark event, Phil Piqueira, Vice President, Global Standards, UL, said, “The STANDARDS play a pivotal role in the economic development and are all the more relevant in today’s world where new technologies are proliferating at a rapid rate, shrinking the time to market from years to months. In such a scenario, a collaborative effort is needed to secure growth and address safety, quality and performance challenges. As a not-for-profit organisation, UL’s mission is to promote safe living and working environments around the world, and we are keen to extend this mission to India by partnering with relevant stakeholders.”
Speaking about his association with the Standards Roundtable and the need to develop the India-specific Standards, Dr RP Singh, Secretary General, Quality Council of India said, “This is perhaps the most exciting time for standards and conformity assessment in India. The role of standards and conformity assessment as per international benchmarks has been recognised beyond doubt and there is a concerted effort to use this route to build Indian products and services as a brand.”
Sharing his views on the positive impact of the Standards Roundtable, Dr Rahul Walawalkar, Executive Director, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), said, “Based on the IESA-UL partnership launched in 2016 edition of the Standards Roundtable, the IESA hosted series of working group meetings with members to develop the India energy storage standards roadmap. This was later on adopted in the second half of 2017 by the BIS-ETD 52 committee working on the stationary energy storage standards in India. In January 2018, the BIS has released these draft standards for industry stakeholder comments and we anticipate that the first set of standards will be approved by mid-2018. We will continue to work with UL and other stakeholders to develop other standards in 2018 and beyond.”
Dr Jyotirmay Mathur, Standards Committee Chair, Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioners (ISHRAE), added, “The HVAC industry aggressively adopts standards, it is evident from the fact that wherever the Indian standards are not available, other standards from different parts of the globe are adopted and used. This Roundtable helped ISHRAE, an accredited SDO see approaches used by other similar professional bodies to develop, adopt and implement usage of standards, especially with rapidly changing technology.”