Coveted ISI certification to be cheaper for start-ups, women entrepreneurs

Union Minister Piyush Goyal has suggested reducing standard testing fees for start-ups, women entrepreneurs and small-scale units, to boost BIS certification and ease of doing business

Piyush Goyal, railway minister
Union Minister Piyush Goyal urged the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) officials to make the process of obtaining ISI mark simpler for the industry. File photo PTI

The coveted ISI mark will soon become less expensive for start-ups, women entrepreneurs and small units, if Union Minister Piyush Goyal has his way.

Goyal, who is now Minister of Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution that oversees Bureau of India Standards (BIS), which issues the ISI mark, said on Monday that the “standard testing fees” should be reduced for start-ups, women entrepreneurs and small-scale units as well. Businesses in these categories will be encouraged to get their products certified by BIS, if a lower fee is charged at least in the initial years, he added.

This will also further help in improving “ease of doing business” that the Union Government is focusing on.

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Goyal also directed BIS to go in for massive expansion and modernisation of testing labs. If this is done, entrepreneurs won’t have to travel far to get their products tested and obtain certification of standards. This will ultimately cut down the cost of quality certification as well and also the time spent by investors seeking the ISI mark that is well established as the quality standard for products across categories.

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“We have to ensure that no one has to travel far for quality check for want of testing labs”, Goyal said, while presiding over the 3rd Governing Council meeting of the BIS through video conferencing. The Union Minister instructed BIS to create a customer charter to usher in highest transparency in its certification process and inspections.

Goyal said that products manufactured in India should be of international standards, even if they are manufactured only for the domestic market. Standards should not be diluted to give advantage to any person or institution, whether private or government, stressed Goyal, who also holds the Commerce & Industry and Railways portfolios.

The Union Minister reviewed the entire process of making Indian standards and their implementation with the BIS officials, senior officials from different ministries and regulators. Wide-ranging discussions were held on how standards are set and what can be done to make their implementation and enforcement better. It was emphasised that there should be `One Nation One Standard’ and Indian Standard should be set as per global benchmarks, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.

BIS Director General P. K. Tiwari; and Quality Council of India chairman Adil Zainulbhai were present, along with senior officials of the Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution Ministry and Bureau of Indian Standards, and Goyal urged them to make the process of obtaining ISI mark simpler for the industry and cheaper for start-ups, small-scale units and women entrepreneurs at least in their formative years.

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Goyal said that there is a need to change the approach of the country towards standardisation and quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of “speed, skill and scale” for rapid economic development. Now, it is time to add a fourth dimension of ‘standard’ to this mantra, he added.

The minister also urged BIS to fast-track the standard setting processes and stressed that it was a challenge, especially for programmes of national priority. BIS technical committees must, therefore, develop required new standards in the quickest possible time and review as well as revise existing standards.

BIS has already formulated various Indian standards comparable with international standards for electric vehicles, fuel blends, smart city digital infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT), smart manufacturing, technical textiles and aerial ropeways. BIS has issued more than 37,000 product certification licences all over the country, including 55 for new products under the product certification scheme since the beginning of this financial year.

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