Prof. K. V. Thomas, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has said that the business establishments must come forward, without hesitation, in complying with international standards for their products and services, such as internally harmonized best practices developed from around the world and know-how on efficient business processes. It will help them to utilize their resources so spared to cater to other priorities to be more efficient. Prof Thomas was delivering the inaugural address on the occasion of “world standards day” here today.
Full text of Minister’s speech is as follows -
“It is my pleasure to be present here with you on the occasion of celebration of World Standards Day 2012 on the theme “Less waste, better results – Standards increase efficiency.” I understand that the theme for the celebration has been chosen collectively by the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), an alliance of top-tier international standardization organizations comprising the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). I congratulate the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Standards for taking the initiative in joining the rest of the world in celebrating World Standards Day. It shows that we have geared up ourselves for the challenge.
The theme chosen for the celebration is very relevant in today’s globally competitive economic environment. Wastage is a sign of inefficiency which leads to increase in production costs, making products unsustainable in a highly competitive and complex world. Where wastage is less through efficient handling, it leads to better results, meaning quality products at affordable costs. On the other hand, efficiency leads to standards, and standards, in turn, increase efficiency, each giving birth to, and sustaining, the other. The world has become a global village. Our obligations to the World Trade Organization require that we keep our market places open to all. Here, only the fittest survives. No longer can we hold our breath hoping that the wind will fly past. Either we do it, or we don’t. And for the don’ts, there is no future.
Standards, be they international or national, are approved formats which lay down specifications and criteria to ensure that the material, method, product or service meets its purpose and performs consistently, its intended use. Standards lay down the requirements of quality, safety and performance of products and services and provide the framework for mass production incorporating the latest technology. As for international standards, they are sources of best practices and technical knowledge at a global level. Simply put, they are challenges at the market place, thrown by larger players. They better be so, and we must face them head on as international standards help our indigenous manufacturers increase their efficiency and thereby, as I said earlier, reduce waste, leading to better results and more profit.
The use of standards is increasingly becoming a prerequisite to world trade and activities. International standards, developed by experts from around the world contain internationally harmonized best practices, guidelines and technical knowledge. They improve universal technical communication and hence better understanding of process, help in traceability of goods and ease in transfer of technology. Regulators can use international standards as a means to show compliance and as a base for market- and consumer-friendly regulations. Thus, they help in removing technical barriers to trade and facilitate international exchange of goods and services. They ensure that countries, organizations, regulators and researchers do not have to reinvent the wheel, and can invest in other priorities with best use of their available human and material resources.
ISO 9000 series of Quality Management Standards have been very successful in promoting quality management around the world. ISO 9001:2008 "Quality Management System – Requirement" if adopted by an organization can result in an outstanding quality control system with minimum waste and defects. Similarly, ISO 9004:2009 "Managing for the sustained success of an organization – A quality management approach" focuses on how to make a quality management system more efficient and effective.
Our country, India, has certain uniqueness to it, especially when it comes to talent and hard work. That is one reason why multinational companies engaged in hardware, software, manufacturing sector, service sector, etc. would like to relocate some of their operations to India. Such MNCs know that it makes sense doing business in India. If they can spot them here, why cannot we? We must make the most use of our own human and material sources available in abundance here for improving our own economic activities. On the other hand, our business establishments must come forward, without fear or hesitation, in complying with international standards for their products and services, by availing themselves of all the opportunities made available by the World Standards Cooperation such as internally harmonized best practices developed by experts from around the world, innovations already in place, know-how on efficient industrial and business processes, etc, so that they could utilize their time and resources so spared to cater to other priorities and become more efficient.
I am happy to know that as the national standards body, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), is formulating Indian standards in line with the national priorities in a time bound manner and has formulated over 18,800 Indian standards on diverse subjects, ranging from food, chemicals, engineering, textiles, to high technological areas of electronics, etc. The fact that these standards are formulated through a network of technical committees comprising different stakeholders like representatives from industry, research and development organizations, consumers, testing and lab experts, government, etc., is what makes them innovative.
I am also happy to note that the Bureau of Indian Standards, as an active and prominent member of ISO, is contributing to the governance of ISO and is also playing an active role in the activities of IEC. You all will be happy to know that the BIS will be hosting the IEC General Meeting in October 2013 in New Delhi.
I am happy to have joined you on this valid occasion in our celebration of the World Standards Day, 2012, and I hope that the deliberations that we are going to have here at the technical session would help us understand the challenges that lay ahead so that we can meet with them head on in full confidence of our capabilities. I thank all of you for joining to make this celebration a grand success.”