India is going through a big transformation and is witnessing rapid socioeconomic changes. The focus is to optimize the use of available resources and to increase the Ease of Doing Business to catapult the nation to the status of a global economic power. Standards and their implementation play a major role in hand holding the Indian industry in achieving desired productivity through dissemination of technical information for adoption of new technologies and global best practices, boosting economies of scale, and by boosting supply chains by ensuring interoperability of products and processes.
Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the National Standards Body of India, is the leader of standardization of the country, having a history dating back to birth of our nation and with a repository of more than 20000 Indian Standards across 15 sectors covering various aspects of economy.
Further, there are some other government entities in sectors such as railways, defense, space etc. publishing standards for their own use. In addition, there are Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) and Regulatory bodies with their expertise overlapping with BIS, developing standards in different domains. Apart from this, leading overseas private standards bodies such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), National Association for corrosion engineers (NACE), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have set up Indian offices/chapters to promote the use of their standards among Indian industry.
This multiplicity of standards leads to confusion among industry, consumers and purchase organization as to which are the actual national standards and further leads to multiplicity of conformity assessments.
Such wastage of standardization efforts and resultant impediments to implementation of standards defeat the very purpose of standardization and has to be curbed through government policies. Indian National Strategy for Standards (INSS) published by Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recognized this and has recommended convergence of standardization, in which BIS has been given the role of overarching body for all the standardization activities in India. As per BIS act, 2016, BIS may recognize or accredit any institution in India or outside which is engaged in standardization.
Considering the fact that convergence of standards is of decisive strategic importance to the future of Indian economic growth story, the Government should take active steps to promote "One Nation One Standard", with BIS, the National Standards Body, functioning as the umbrella organization steering India's standardization efforts, by recognizing and Synergizing the efforts of SDOs to develop standards as per good practices outlined by WTO and by recognizing these standards formulated by SDOs / Regulators as Indian Standards.