In the twilight years of British rule in India, when the country was faced with the gigantic task of building up the industrial infrastructure, it was the Institution of Engineers (India), which prepared the first draft of the Constitution of an Institution which could take up the task of formulation of National Standards. This led to the Department of Industries and Supplies issuing a memorandum on 03 September 1946, formally announcing the setting of an organization called the “Indian Standards Institution”. The Indian Standards Institution (ISI) came into being on the 06 January 1947 and in June 1947 Dr. Lal C. Verman took over as its first Director.
In the initial years, the organization concentrated on standardization activity. To provide the advantages of standardization to common consumers, the Indian Standards Institution started operating the Certification Marks Scheme under the Indian Standards Institution (Certification Marks) Act, 1952. The Scheme, which was formally launched by ISI in 1955-56, enabled it to grant licences to manufacturers producing goods in conformity with Indian Standards and to apply ISI Mark on their products. To meet the requirements of the Certification Marks Scheme, the nucleus of a laboratory was started in 1963. While the product certification wasbeing operated under the Indian Standards Institution (Certification Marks) Act, 1952, the formulation of standards and other related work were not governed by any legislation. A Bill with this objective was therefore introduced in the Parliament of 26 Nov 1986.
Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) came into existence, through an act of parliament dated 26 November 1986, on 1 April 1987, with a broadened scope and more powers taking over the staff, assets, liabilities and functions of erstwhile ISI. Through this change over, the government envisaged building a climate for quality culture and consciousness and greater participation of consumers in formulation and implementation of national standards.
The Bureau is a Body Corporate consisting of 25 members representing both Central and State governments, Members of Parliament, industry, scientific and research institutions, consumer organizations and professional bodies; with Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution as its President and with Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution as its Vice-President.