The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) made it mandatory for all imported electronic goods to comply with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certifications. The decision was taken to regulate the flow of sub-standard electronic products into the country, some of which were also safety hazards.
India has taken this strict measure to curb the grey market and ensure consumers are not saddled with sub-standard goods. The grey market accounts for nearly 40 percent of the sales in the Indian electronics market. Thus the certification is a step to safeguard consumer safety as well as regulate unfair practices including low pricing and unbranded, unreliable products.
The Requirements for Compulsory Registration Order (RCRO), 2012 issued by the Department of Electronics and IT of the Government of India, makes it compulsory for 15 IT and electronic product categories to be compliant with the specifications of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Only BIS compliant products will be allowed for sale, manufacture and import in India in the 15 categories mentioned.
The RCRO is applicable to imported as well as locally manufactured products. If imported goods are not BIS-compliant the customs authorities can confiscate the shipments. The order allows the government to randomly select samples of registered electronic goods to ascertain whether these goods conform to the specified standards.
The categories include laptops, tablets, plasma/LCD/LED televisions, optical disc players, set top boxes, microwave ovens, video games, scanners and printers among others. The idea was to certify them for their quality, safety and health implications under Indian conditions.
The government had earlier set April 3, 2013 for vendors to get their products BIS-compliant. However, after requests from manufacturers and industry bodies, the deadline has been extended to January 3, 2013.
How Will it Affect Import of 3D Printers into India?
While 3D Printers do not explicitly fall under any of the categories listed under the RCRO, the nomenclature ‘Printer’ gives a vague implication that 3D printers have to comply with this new rule. The Indian Customs have already started detaining imported ‘3D printers’ at the ports of entry, citing this new rule. However, since the technology is new and at a very nascent stage in India, it still remains to clarify whether 3D printers come under the category ‘printers’ for the purpose of RCRO.
BIS certification is a welcome initiative by the Government of India to ensure that all electronic goods are safe to be used by the end user. However, lack of testing infrastructure coupled with the vast inventory of electronic and IT equipment being imported by thousands of vendors in India has made is extremely difficult for importers to timely get a BIS certification.
In view of the above, it is advisable that 3D printer manufacturers, especially those eying the India market, take cognizance of this rule and gear up to face the challenges posted by it.
About Bureau of Indian Standards
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is a national standards body engaged in the preparation and implementation of standards, operation of certification schemes both for products and systems, organisation and management of testing laboratories, creating consumer awareness and maintaining close liaison with international standards bodies.
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) came into existence, through an Act of Parliament on 1 April 1987, with a broadened scope and more powers taking over the staff, assets, liabilities and functions of erstwhile Indian Standards Institution (ISI) with following objectives.
- Harmonious development of activities of standardization, marking and quality certification
- To provide new thrust to standardization and quality control
- To evolve a national strategy for according recognition to standards and integrating them with growth and development of Industrial production and exports.
BIS is involved in multifarious activities like Standards Formulation, Certification, Product/Schemes. Laboratory Services, International Activities, Consumer – related Activities, Promotional Activities, Training Services, Information services, Sale of Standards & Publications
Under Standards formulation, it is engaged in formulation of Indian Standards for 14 sectors namely Chemicals, Food and Agriculture, Civil, Electrical, Electronics & Telecommunications and Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Management & Systems, Metallurgical Enginnering, Petroleum, Coal & related Products, Medical and Hospital Planning, Textile, Transport engineering and Production and General Engineering, Water Resources under Division Councils which have 308 Sectional Committees working under them. As on 31 March 2008, 18424 Standards formulated by BIS, are in force. These cover important segments of economy, which help the industry in upgrading the quality of their goods and services. BIS formulates need-based Indian Standards in line with the national priorities as a time-bound programme.
Product Certification Scheme
BIS Product Certification Scheme is basically voluntary in nature. However, keeping in view the health and safety of the consumer, it has been made mandatory for 68 items by the Government through various statutory measures such as Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, Coal Mines Regulations and Indian Gas Cylinders Rules besides BIS Act. Some of the items brought under mandatory certification on consideration of health and safety are milk powder, packaged drinking water, LPG cylinders, oil pressure stoves, clinical thermometers etc. As on 31 March 2008, 20025 certification marks licences are in operation under the Scheme, covering about 1000 different items ranging from food products to electronics.
All foreign manufacturers of products who intend to export to India are required to obtain a BIS product certification licence. Towards this, BIS launched its Product Certification Scheme for overseas manufacturers in the year 1999. Under the provisions of this scheme, foreign manufacturers can seek certification from BIS for marking their product(s) with BIS Standard Mark. Under this scheme, about 101 licences of foreign manufacturers in about 15 countries are in operation as on 31 March 2008. Under the scheme for Indian importers, Certification Marks Licence can be granted to Indian importers for the product imported into the country and are not covered under Regulatory Requirements. Indian importers can apply for BIS licence on such products and they are treated as Indian manufacturers. Three licences are in operation under this scheme. BIS also runs other certification schemes like IECEE-CB, IECQ and IECEs Schemes of IBC under different provisions. India is a certifying member of the IEC System of Quality Assessment of Electronic Components (IECQ) and IEC System for Conformity Testing to Standards for Safety of Electrical Equipment (IECEE). Further, BIS has taken new initiatives like simplification of procedure for grant of licence, basically to reduce the procedural time. This has yielded some encouraging results.
To support the activities of product certification, BIS has a chain of 8 laboratories. These laboratories have established testing facilities for products of chemical, food, electrical and mechanical disciplines. Approximately, 25000 samples are being tested in theBIS laboratories every year. In certain cases where it is economically not feasible to develop test facilities in BIS laboratories and also for other reasons like overloading of samples, equipment being out of order, the services of outside approved laboratories are also being availed. Except for the two labs, all the other labs are NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratiories) accredited. BIS has recognized about 116 laboratories for product certification purposes. BIS has undertaken the project of modernization of all its testing laboratories in order to increase the in-house capacity of testing of samples as well as to reduce the time taken in testing.
Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery started in April 2000 on voluntary basis under BIS Act 1986. It is aimed at to protect the consumer’s interest and providing third party assurance to consumers on the purity of gold. Till 31 Mar 2008, 91 hallmarking centers have been recognized. Since the launch of the scheme, over 5403 gold jewellers have taken licence from BIS, a figure which stood at 186 in the year 2001-02. So far, over 381 lakh jewellery articles have been hallmarked. The list of hallmarked jewellers with BIS licence andBIS recognised hallmarking centres has been hosted on BIS website. Under a similar scheme of Hallmarking of Silver, 405 licences have been granted since its launch in October 2005.
Management Systems Certificate
BIS runs other important systems certification schemes under the Management Systems Certification. Under Quality Management System Certification Scheme (QMSCS), which was launched in September 1991, the total number of operative licences as on 31 Mar 2008 is 1161 which has grown from the figure of 916 in 2001-2002. BIS Quality Management System Certification has been accredited by Raad voor Accreditatie (RvA) Netherlands for 23 major economic activities.
Under Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Certification (HACCP) Integrated Scheme, 64 certified companies are under operation as on 31 March 2008. Under the Environmental Management Systems Certification Scheme (EMSCS), the total number of operative licences as on 31 March 2008 is 131 which has grown from a figure of 61 in 2001-02. Under the Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OH & SMS) Certification Scheme which was launched in January 2003, the total number of operative licences as on 31 Mar 2008 is 35.
Among the new Schemes, BIS has launched public Service Delivery Management systems as per IS 15700-2005 “Quality Management Systems – Requirements for Service Quality by Public Service Organizations.” in order to ensure minimum standards of service delivery in all sectors pertaining to or influenced by the government.
With the growth and popularity of the BIS Certification Marks Scheme, there have been instances of misuse of BIS Standard Mark also. BIS, therefore, lays emphasis on enforcement activity to stop misuse of Standard mark, enforcement raids are carried out and prosecution cases filed in the court of law wherever legally tenable. To strengthen this activity, two outsourced agencies have been engaged for providing intelligence and assisting in carrying out raids against offending parties for an initial period of one year in selected locations. The number of search and seizures operations carried out in 2007-08 stand at 125.
Since its inception in 1947, the then ISI and now BIS has been an active member of international organisations namely, ISO and International Electronical Commission (IEC). BIS represents India as Member Body in ISO and IEC. It holds Participating Membership (P) status in 259 Technical Committees/ Sub-committees of ISO and 62 Technical Committees/ Sub-committee of IEC, whereas it is Observer Member (O) on 308 Technical committees/ Sub-committees of IDO and 84 Technical Committees/Subcommittees of IEC. It participates in various policy-making committees of these international standards bodies. BIS also holds secretariat of some of the important ISO/IEC Committees which are of trade interest of India. As member of ISO, BIS also takes active part in the development of International Standards with a view to protect the interests of Indian trade & industry. BIS is actively involved is Regional and Bilateral Cooperation Programmes pertaining to standardization, conformity assessment & accreditation etc. It has signed MoU/MRA with 16 countries/organizations including ISO and American National Standards Institute (ANS) of USA to this effect.
To meet with the growing expectations of consumers in the country, BIS has established a separate department with a specific mandate of providing consumer protection and welfare and dealing with public grievances. This department maintains liaison with Central Consumer Protection Council and consumer associations and coordinates with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution on consumer issues. It is guided in its activities by a Consumer Policy Advisory Committee which advise BIS on all policy matters relating to efficient discharge of the functions and for making standardization and certification activities user-friendly. A well-defined procedure has been established for handling complaints. The complaints can also be lodged on line, and are monitored regularly.
Promotion of Indian Standards assumes great significance and has been a prime objective of BIS . All standards are generally voluntary in nature. Promotional activities are, therefore, essential to implement the standards for deriving the desired benefits.
The promotion of standardization involves varied interests ranging from ordinary consumers to educational institutions. To propagate the concept of standardization and quality systems among small scale industries, discussions and video film shows are organised where the participants are exposed to the concepts of standardization, quality system, product certification and other BIS activities.
Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award
With a view to encourage manufacturers and service organizations to strive for excellence, Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award was instituted by the Bureau in 1991. This annual award compares well with similar international awards, such as, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award of USA and European Quality Award. The assessment for this award is made on the basis of parameters, such as, Leadership, Policies objectives and Strategies; Human Resources Management; Resources, Processes; Customer Focus; Employees’ Satisfaction; Business Results and Impact on Environment and Society.
Information & SSI Facilitation Cell
Marching further ahead on the path of ‘total customer satisfaction’ BIS had set up a single window Information & SSI Facilitation Cell at its headquarters in New Delhi which became operational since 1997 with the aim of providing variety of information/assistance. A number of entrepreneurs, consumers and professionals visit this centre.
National Institute of Training for Standardization (NITS)
To impart training to technical and management personnel from industry, consumer organizations, public sector undertakings, government bodies and developing countries, BIS has established, the National Institute of Training for Standardization (NITS) at NOIDA (U.P.)
NITS conducts training on Quality Management Systems as per IS/ISO 9001, Environment Management Systems as per IS/ISO 14001, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems as per IS 18001, Food Safety Management Systems as per IS/ISO 22,000, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Laboratory Management Systems as per IS/ISO/IEC 17025. It also conducts International Training Programmes in Standardization and Quality Systems and on Management systems for developing countries of Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America every year since 1968. NITS also conducts training programmes for BISemployees. On an average, about 630 personnel have been trained/retrained every year since last six years.
BIS Technical Library is a national resource centre for information on standards and related matters and meets the needs of industry, trade, government, researchers and consumers. It is the largest library of standards in the South Asian Region, covering a floor area of 1000 square meters. The collection includes about 6 lakh standards from all over the world and 50,000 technical books. The Bureau’s library system comprises the Headquarters’ Library (New Delhi) and four Regional Office Libraries at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Chennai. BIS has also been designated as WTO/TBT Enquiry Point by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India under the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement of World Trade Organization.
BIS has brought out all Indian standards on CD-ROMs through a franchisee with a view to computerize its sales points as well as to provide standards in electronic form directly to the customers. The product has been well received by the industry and provides excellent full-text searching facility in over 18,000 standards formulated by the Bureau.
BIS has a website with domain name www.bis.org.in which includes its Hindi version also. Information of interest to the Indian industry as well as consumers, relating to various activities and schemes of the Bureau, such as certification, standards formation, consumer affairs, various application forms, laboratory services and other support services, is available on the website.
Finance & Account
For over a decade now, BIS is self-reliant in meeting its non-plan expenditure without any budgetary support from the Government of India. Financial resources of BIS are broadly mobilized under the following heads:
- product Certification
- Management System Certification
- Sale of BIS Standards and Publications
- Training Institute.