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Making ‘BIS’: Product Certification Scheme for RO Water Purifiers mandatory for the Indian Consumer. Boon or Bane?

The Bureau of Indian Standards (hereinafter referred to as ‘BIS’) through BIS Act, 2016 operates a product certification scheme for standardization of goods that enter the market for sale to consumers. The Government had introduced the product certification scheme to ensure that goods made available to consumers are of a standard quality and safe for being used, as per the prescribed standards/ parameters. These parameters/ standards prescribed by BIS, have to be adhered to prior to the products being made available to consumers.

The product certification scheme under BIS requires the manufacturers to obtain the registration prior to the sale of products in the market. The registration is essentially voluntary in nature. However, keeping into consideration the public health and safety concerns, the government has identified certain products that require mandatory certification.

BIS grants a license on application basis, although the execution of compulsory certification is maintained by competent authorities as notified in the Quality Control Orders provided by the Government from time to time. BIS operates the certification scheme through a network of 34 Branch Offices (BO) set up in different State capitals or major industrial towns and 5 Regional Offices (RO) overseeing the work of the branch offices. Further, to ensure that the required standards are adhered, BIS has identified testing laboratories for undertaking the testing of products.

Under the product certification scheme, BIS grants the certification to use the standard quality mark for products. However, the mark can only be granted post confirmation that the product adheres to the standards prescribed by BIS for such product. The product certification scheme aims at providing third party assurance of quality, safety and reliability of the products to the consumer. The presence of the certification mark, on a product is an assurance of conformity of the specifications.

Process for obtaining the product certification

BIS can either be obtained through ‘Normal Procedure’ or ‘Simplified Procedure’. Under the Normal Procedure, license is granted provided preliminary inspection is satisfactory, samples drawn are found to be conforming to the prescribed standards, the applicant adheres to the defined schemes of testing and the payment of marking fee is complete.

Under the Simplified Procedure, the applicant is required to submit test report/s from designated laboratories along with the application. License is granted provided the testing of products is found to be satisfactory, applicant agrees to implement the defined schemes of testing and payment of marking fee is completed.

The product certification is valid for a period of 2 years and can be subsequently renewed on completion of 2 years and payment of the renewal fee.

Even though product certification is voluntary, the government has listed out certain categories of products that require compulsory certification.

Source: Journal S S Rana & Co