AIR Spotlight - One Nation, One Standard: Mission and New development

AIR Spotlight is an insightful programme featured daily on the All India Radio Newsonair. In this program, many eminent panelists discuss issues of importance which can be quite helpful in IAS exam preparation. In this article, the topic of discussion is the outcome of the 43rd GST Council Meeting.
Participants

  1. Prof. Bejon Kumar Mishra, International Consumer Policy Expert.
  2. Sanjeev Mukherjee, Journalist.

Context:

RDSO (Research Design & Standards Organization) of Indian Railways has become the FIRST Institution to be declared as Standard setting Organization under the “One Nation One Standard” mission of BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards).

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS):

BIS is the National Standard Body of India established under the BIS Act 2016 for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking, and quality certification of goods. It functions under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution. It is the only standard-setting authority in India.

Read more on BIS on the link.

RDSO:

Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO), Lucknow, which is the sole R&D Wing of the Ministry of Railways, is one of India’s leading standard formulating bodies undertaking standardization work for the railway sector. It works under the supervision of the Railway Board. Now, RDSO can set standards for various goods that are under its domain.

The benefits of this move:

For RDSO:

  • It will bring uniformity and clarity in setting standards by RDSO.
  • RDSO can participate in the ISO conference and also other international conferences.
  • It will help RDSO to adapt to the best technologies and get recognized across the globe for the same.

For BIS:

  • Until now, BIS was the only standard-setting authority. Such devolution of functions will reduce the burden on BIS for setting standards of goods.

For domestic manufacturers:

  • Earlier, poor standards-setting led to poor compatibility and poor global standards. Now, domestic manufacturers will set standards and can earn required certificates of quality. Thus their quality of production will improve.
  • It will also enhance their competitiveness in the international market.
  • It will allow MSMEs to compete for global tenders floated by Railways. 
  • MSMEs can manufacture coaches of global standards for railways at a competitive rate. It will reduce the import of goods by railways.
  • This will also clear the technical barrier to trade for Indian manufacturers under WTO. (The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement aims to ensure that technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures are non-discriminatory and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade). This will also benefit other sectors such as pharmaceuticals as there will be less delay in getting clearance from foreign authorities. Thus, we will be genuinely able to protect our domestic manufacturers.
  • This will also benefit innovators and scientists.

For the Consumers:

  • People will be more aware and get good quality products.
  • Prices of goods will also reduce as the whole process will get streamlined by setting standards.

Way forward:

  • In the future, BIS needs to delegate responsibilities of standardization in other sectors also such as Automobiles, Telecoms, Pharmaceuticals, etc, and increase the number of standards development organizations (SDO).
  • This will increase transparency and efficiency in setting standards.
  • Government should encourage more organizations such as the Quality Council of India to set standards.
  • Setting standards will help to check dumping (of cheap imports) from other countries such as China.

Conclusion:

This is a big step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat. It will enhance India’s export potential and make India self-reliant. The initiative is set to usher in a faster transition from the development of technology & innovation stage to actual use on the ground.
Read more Gist of AIR Spotlight here.

AIR Spotlight – One Nation, One Standard Mission:- Download PDF Here

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