Research Design & Standards Organisation - RDSO

Research Design & Standards Organisation – RDSO has become the nation’s first institution to be declared as Standard Developing Organization – SDO under the mission called “One Nation One Standard” on the Bureau of Indian Standards.

Since the Research Design & Standards Organisation has been in the news recently, it forms an important topic of the Current Affairs section of IAS exam as well as other competitive examinations. 

This article will provide detailed information on the body Research Design and Standard Organization and its move to join the central government’s ‘one nation, one standard’ scheme. 

This article will definitely help candidates prepare for the upcoming UPSC Prelims

Research Design & Standards Organization – Overview

  1. RDSO is based out of Lucknow. It is headed by the Director-General, who ranks equivalent to the general manager of a Zonal Railway. The present Director General is Shri Arun Kumar. 
  2. It is the sole research and development wing of the Ministry of Railways.
  3. It is one of India’s leading Standard formulating Body undertaking standardization works for the railway sector.
  4. It works under the supervision of the Railway Board. Now, RDSO can set standards for various goods that are under its domain.
  5. It functions as a technical adviser and consultant to the Railway Board, the Zonal Railways, the Railway Production Units, RITES, RailTel in respect of design and standardization of railway equipment and problems related to railway construction, operations and maintenance.
  6. The Director-General is assisted by an Additional Director General and 23 Sr. Executive Directors and Executive Directors, who are in charge of the 27 directorates.

RDSO – Historical Background

  1. To enforce standardization and co-ordination between various railway systems in British India, the Indian Railway Conference Association (IRCA) was set up in 1903.
  2. Thereafter, for preparation of designs, standards and specifications, the Central Standards Office (CSO) was established in 1930.
  3. After independence, in 1952, Railway Testing and Research Centre (RTRC) was set up for undertaking the intensive investigation of railway problems, providing basic criteria and new concepts for design purposes.
  4. Finally, in 1957, the CSO and the RTRC were integrated into a single unit named Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) under the Ministry of Railways with its headquarters at Manak Nagar, Lucknow.

Candidates can check a few related links provided below to prepare comprehensively for the upcoming UPSC examination-

RDSO & One Nation, One Standard Scheme

Following the footprints of the “One Nation, One Standard” mission that aims to ensure quality products to Indian consumers, the Indian Railway’s Research Design & Standards Organization has become the first standard body in the country to be declared Standard Developing Organization under the Bureau of Indian Standards.

What is the 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.

Also read about ECOMARK, a certification mark issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for products which are ecologically safe and adheres to the standards prescribed by the BIS. 

Benefits of SDO Recognition

  1. Until now, BIS was the only standard-setting authority. Such devolution of functions will reduce the burden on BIS for setting standards of goods.
  2. It will bring uniformity and clarity in setting standards by RDSO. It will help RDSO to adapt to the best technologies and get recognized across the globe, hence there will be smooth induction of latest evolving & emerging technologies on Indian Railways. RDSO can participate in the ISO conference and also other international conferences.
  3. Consumers 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.
  4. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to compete for global tenders floated by Railways. They can manufacture coaches of global standards for railways at a competitive rate. It will reduce the import of goods by railways, which will align with the Make in India program.
  5. It will enhance their competitiveness in the international market and will improve Ease of doing Business. You can read in detail about the Ease of Doing Business Report (EoDBR) on the given link. 
  6. Now, domestic manufacturers will set standards and can earn required certificates of quality. Thus, the quality of production will improve.
  7. This will also clear the technical barrier to trade for Indian manufacturers under WTO which 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. 
    • (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).
  8. This is a big step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat. It will enhance India’s export potential and make India self-reliant.
One Nation, One Standard Mission

  1. The mission was envisioned on the line of one nation, one ration card scheme in order to ensure quality products in the country.
  2. There are multiple standards in the country for a single product or service. The new mission is to converge such standards with the BIS.
  3. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the only national body that frames standards, has come out with more than 20,000 standards for various products and services so far.
  4. The idea is to develop one template of standard for one given product instead of having multiple agencies set it.
  5. The purpose of setting standards and enforcing them is to ensure that quality products are made available to consumers.

Way Forward with RDSO 

  • Setting standards will help to check dumping (of cheap imports) from other countries such as China.
  • Government should encourage more organizations such as the Quality Council of India to set standards.
  • In the future, the Bureau of Indian Standard 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.

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