Post 19 -by Gautam Shah


National Standards formation, in India began soon after the independence in 1947, as the Indian Standards Institution (ISI). It started a product certification scheme in 1955. ISI was recast by Indian parliament in 1986 as Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), to take over the formation of Indian Standards Institution. ISI continued its main role of ‘licensing’.


BIS endeavours for improved adoption of Indian Standards by industry, large scale purchasing organizations, statutory bodies and universities. It lays emphasis on company standardization and association level standardization. It tries for effective implementation of standards through Sectoral Committees, such as those dealing with steel, food, textiles, information technology, automotive and power.


State Level Committees on Standardization and Quality Systems also help for better implementation of Indian Standards. BIS also helps for use of Indian Standards in legislation definitions. BIS interacts with private sector undertakings for basing public purchases on Standards and Standardized Marked Products. BIS also tries for use of Standards in educational system.


Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) formulates Indian Standards for Product Specifications, Methods of tests, Codes of practices, Guidelines, Terminologies, Glossaries, Basic standards. BIS standards’ formulation now works in conjunction with International Standards Organization. Many of the BIS standards now also carry equivalent ISO identifiers.


Activities of BIS Product Certification (ISI mark) are Voluntary, Mandatory (+135 products), or Compulsory in nature, but based on ISO Guide 26 and 28 for initial testing, quality assessment, and sampling in the factories and in the open market. Some products come under Special Certification Schemes of a lot or batch-based inspection carried out by BIS inspecting officers. For all other products, the manufacturers are permitted to Self certify the Products. The BIS product certification is also available for other countries. National and State Governmental agencies are allowed to make enforcement through legislation.ecomark

ISI mark, has been the traditional certification system. BIS, since 1991, also grants ECO mark certification for Environment Friendly Products. ECO mark aims for minimal impact on the eco-system through increased level of awareness among the consumers. The mark is issued to various product categories, through a set of standards. The BIS hallmark for certifying purity of Gold and Silver jewellery in India, began on April.


There are many other similar standards and certification programmes through various Government of India agencies. AGMARK (ag for agriculture) is a certification mark for agricultural products by Directorate of Marketing and Inspection. It is managed under the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act of 1937 & 1986. The AGMARK standards offer quality guidelines for different commodities such as Pulses, Cereals, Essential Oils, vegetable oils, Fruits & Vegetables, and many semi-processed products.


Organically farmed food products in India are certified by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), when these confirm to the National Standards for Organic Products (of 2000). These standards assure that products were grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or induced hormones. The certification is issued after testing by accredited centres under the National Programme for Organic Production of the Government of India. Packaged food products sold in India are required to be mandatorily labelled vegetarian and non-vegetarian.


The food labels follow, Food safety and standards (packaging and labelling) act of 2006 and 2011. As per these vegetarian foods are identified by a Green symbol, non-vegetarian foods with a Brown symbol, and soon Diabetes Friendly Foods will have a Blue dot.


Pesticide Toxicity Labels

Pesticide Toxicity labels are mandatory labels (marks) employed on containers in India identifying the level of toxicity. The labelling follows the Insecticides Rules, 1971, and contains information such as a brand name, name of manufacturer, name of the antidote in case of accidental consumption etc., i.e. red label, yellow label, blue label and green label.


The coordination with ISO (International Standards Organization) occurs in the following manner: BIS provides technical advise on formation and revision of ISO Standards, Participates in various discussions on Standards related activities, Revises own existing standards to match the format and content style of standards by ISO, Provides equivalent ISO identity numbers to its own standards (many BIS standards carry dual numbered standards, i.e. BIS & ISO), Conducts Product Certification programmes as per the Guide lines of ISO, Acts as the dissemination agency for various types of Quality Management Systems.



Published by

Gautam Shah

Former adjunct faculty, Faculty of Design CEPT University, Ahmedabad and Consultant Designer

2 thoughts on “BUREAU of INDIAN STANDARDS (BIS) -12”

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