Standardization is intrinsic to life and we see its many manifestations in nature and life around us. Standardization encourages improvement in the quality of life and makes major contributions to safety, public health and environment protection. They provide us with a criteria for judgment, a measurement of quality and a certain guarantee of compatibility and interchangeability.
INDIAN STANDARDS INSTITUTION came into being on January 6, 1947. Symbolic of the role, the Indian Standards Institution (I.S.I.) was to play the first standard drawn for independent India. In the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the National Standards Body of India formulates standards through technical committees which have representatives from the manufacturers, technical experts and users. The standards are documents of consensus which are finalized after taking the views of all those who may have an interest in it. BIS plays the key role of holding the secretariat for the Technical Committees and collating and analyzing the data and other information which may be required for formulating the standards. BIS has formulated nearly 18,000 standards which may be categorized as basic standards, product specifications and methods of test and codes of practices.
ISI Standard Mark
With the objective of satisfying the consumer in terms of product quality, the BIS has undertaken various quality certification activities. The domestic consumer is familiar with the ISI mark on a product which is an assurance that the product conforms to the requirements as laid down in the specification. Conformity to the standard is ensured through regular surveillance of the manufacturing process, surprise inspections and testing of samples drawn from the factory as well as from the market. Fraudulent and unauthorized use of the ISI mark is a violation of the law punishable under the BIS Act.
Quality Management System
There is a world-wide movement for installing Quality Management Systems in accordance with the IS/ISO 9000 series. In India also this has become a prime requisite for manufacturers and service sector units which wish to make an impact in the domestic and global markets. The concept of Quality Management Systems aims at quality control mechanism at every stage of a manufacturing or a service system and not just the quality of the end product as is the case with product certification.
With the growing concern for environment-friendly industrial activity, the ISO 14,000 series of standards were developed. After adopting these standards as national standards the BIS has also launched the Environment Management System Certification under which units may demonstrate their compliance with the ISO 14000 standards. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) Certification which again has acquired international recognition for certifying the safety of food manufacturing process has also been undertaken by the BIS. The Bureau of Indian Standards has also formulated IS 15000 : 1998 which is equivalent to the internationally accepted Codex standards.
BIS has established a chain of laboratories at different centers in the country for testing the conformity of certified products and also samples offered by applicants for grant of ISI mark. It also offers specialized services of calibration of test equipment and instruments and procurement of standard reference materials. They also undertake research and development for evolving speedy and effective test methods.
As a founder member of International Organization for Standardization (ISO), BIS continues to actively participate in international standardization. As a member of the ISO Council it participates in its policy-making bodies like the Committee on Developing Country matters (DEVCO), Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO), Committee on Information (INFCO) and Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO). Besides, it also holds secretarial responsibilities of various Technical Committees and Subcommittees and maintains participation status and observer status on most of the Technical Committees.