Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Shri Ram Vilas Paswan today launched the Bureau of Indian Standard’s Mobile App ‘BIS-Care’ and three portals – the Standardization, Conformity Assessment and Training Portals of e-BIS on www.manakonline.in for consumers. The mobile app BIS-Care can be operated on any Android phone. This app is operational in Hindi and English language and can be downloaded free from Google play store. Consumers can check the authenticity of the ISI-marked and hallmarked products and lodge complaints using this app. The Minister said that the government has taken several steps to protect the interests of consumers.
Shri Paswan said that another important aspect of BIS functioning is certification and surveillance to enforce the implementation of standards. The Minister informed that the BIS is strengthening its capacity of enforcement by implementation of e-BIS, an integrated portal covering all its functions, enlisting the services of outside agencies for factory and market surveillance and development of mobile app-based and AI-enabled surveillance methods. He said it is important to ensure that consumers are aware of the standards and quality products and become a part of our efforts to eliminate the supply of sub-standard products. In the briefing, the Minister also informed that BIS is developing a portal on Consumer Engagement, which will facilitate the online registration of Consumer Groups, submission of proposals and approval thereof, and complaint management.
Shri Ram Vilas Paswan also spoke about the plan to implement One Nation, One Standard, and said that BIS has formulated a scheme for the recognition of other Standard Development Organizations in the country with the objective of harmonization of standard formulation. It is under examination and will be launched soon. The Minister touched upon the Government’s thrust on the use of non-tariff barriers to regulate export and import and highlighted the role BIS was playing in the formulation of Quality Control Orders to make the standards mandatory. He said that BIS has actively collaborated with various Ministries and Departments to help them issue QCOs for 368 products and work on the formulating QCOs for 239 products is in progress. After standards becoming mandatory, manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, have to comply with them. He said that the number of licenses, which is about 37000 at present, issued by BIS is likely to see a sharp jump because of QCOs.
Shri Paswan said that to achieve the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and protect the interests of consumers, BIS had to further strengthen its efforts to formulate standards in the areas important for boosting our exports and regulating the import of cheap and sub-standard products. He informed that Department of Consumer Affairs has approved the Standard National Action Plan and identified the important sectors of economy for development of standards.
Shri Paswan also reiterated upon the need for helping MSMEs and touched upon the relaxations given to the MSMEs to cope with COVID-19. He said that not only the Minimum Marking Fee was reduced by 40%, but they were given the option to deposit the fee in two instalments. The deadline for renewal of license was also extended to 30th September, 2020.
During the present Covid-19 Pandemic, BIS also developed COVID standards for Cover-all and Ventilators and issued norms for grant of licence for N95 Masks, surgical masks, and eye protectors. This has resulted in increase in the production of ISI-marked PPE items. Daily production capacity for ISI-marked N95 masks in the country has gone up from less than two lakh to more than four Lakh.
Shri Paswan also talked of the expansion and modernization of BIS labs and said that testing facilities for drinking water and assaying of gold jewellery are being created not only in 8 BIS labs, but in several branch offices, like Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Bhopal, Raipur and Lucknow.
Bureau of Indian Standards through the National Institute of Standardization at Noida has been imparting training to various stakeholders, as training plays an important role in the promotion and implementation of standards. Through it has now formulated a comprehensive Training Policy and chalked out an action plan to reach out to industry, consumer organizations, and Govt. officials in a big way through online and offline courses. Shri Paswan made special mention of the initiative to integrate the standards into the curriculum of professional education in the country. An Approach Paper, he said, has been developed and shared with MHRD, AICTE and other stakeholders.