With the government's emphasis on "zero defect" and matching global standards for 'Made in India' products, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the country's standards body, BIS, has "to do lot of catching up" to do.
"The Bureau of Indian Standards will have to do a lot of catching up as standards development is a dynamic process," she said, while delivering the inaugural address at the National Standards Conclave here organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry jointly with her ministry.
"It will also need to step up coordination with the various ministries," she added.
The Bureau of Indian Standards is the national standards body working under the consumer affairs ministry. Earlier known as the Indian Standards Institution (ISI), it was set up in 1946.
In his first Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort here on August 15, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said: "Let us think about zero defect..our products are not defective, and our products have zero effect on the environment."
Sitharaman said on Thursday that India is capable of setting standards, as well as internationalizing them.
"We require standards not only for global markets but also for Indian consumers and the challenge is huge. I support minimum intervention of the government," she said.
The minister further said India needs to develop its own rigid standards and set norms below which imports would not be allowed.
"This is necessary to stop undesirable and poor quality products from entering the country," she said, while also stressing the need for handholding micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to improve quality and standards and thereby access global markets.
Addressing the conclave, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia pointed out that mega regional trade agreements like the under negotiation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that is being negotiated, and the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are likely to be driven by standards, compliance and conformity assessment.
"Standards will be much more widespread and Indian Industry needs to adapt to this changed scenario," she said.