In January 1947, the Indian Standards Institution (ISI), as the then national standards body of India, was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Its mandate was to prepare and promote standards for adoption by Indian industry. Later, its mandate was expanded to include Product Certification activity through the Indian Standards Institution (Certification Marks) Act, 1952.
In the mid 1980s it was felt necessary to confer a statutory status to ISI’s functioning which led to the enactment of the BIS Act 1986. ISI was renamed as the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), to promote harmonious development of standardization, and quality certification of goods, with a clearly defined statutory powers. The Act has now been revised as BIS Act, 2016 and establishes BIS as the National Standards Body.
The BIS Act 2016, Rules and Regulations framed there under authorizes BIS to undertake conformity assessment of products, services, systems and processes. Under the product certification scheme – I, BIS grants licence to use the standard mark or grants certificate of conformity as per conformity assessment schemes given in BIS (Conformity Assessment) Regulations, 2018 . The conformity assessment schemes are laid down in BIS (Conformity Assessment) Regulations, 2018 which are based on principles laid down in IS/ISO/IEC 17067: 2013.
The Product Certification Schemes of BIS aims at providing Third Party assurance of quality, safety and reliability of products to the customer. Presence of BIS certification mark, known as Standard Mark, on a product is an assurance of conformity to the specifications. The manufacturer is permitted to self certify the licenced products after ascertaining its conformity to the Standard. Through its surveillance operations, the Bureau maintains a close vigil on the quality of certified goods. The conformity is ensured by regular surveillance of the licensee’s performance by surprise inspections and testing of samples, drawn both from the market/factory.
The certification scheme operates through a network of 34 Branch Offices set up in State capitals or major industrial towns and 5 Regional Offices overseeing the work of the Branch offices. Although, the scheme itself is voluntary in nature, the Government of India, on considerations of public health and safety, security, infrastructure requirements and mass consumption has enforced compulsory certification on various products through Orders issued from time to time under various Acts.
In order to ensure enhanced consumer safety & compliance to statutory provisions, some products like gas cylinders, regulators and valves, BIS certification scheme requires each lot or batch to be inspected by BIS certification officers before release of the product.