How Effective is the Current Procedure of Product Quality Standardization in the Indian Market?: A Case Study on Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) - National Standards Body

Researching Reality Summer Internship Working Paper, July 2012

51 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2012

Date Written: July 20, 2012


And whatever happened to the pesticide content found in Bisleri in 2003. In 2003 and 2006, there turned out to be a dramatic fight that saw Pepsi and Coca-Cola joining hands to fight Sunita Narayan of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) as the whole country looked on concerned about claims, that the Indian Public had been drinking for years, as a mark of celebration, ‘drinks’ that were claimed to be efficient toilet-cleaners! A rare sight where the stalwarts of the soft drink industry and all-time staunch rivals came together to fight this new menace that posed a serious threat to their credibility. Joint Parliamentary Committees in India is no ordinary thing where scams worth Rs.1,76,000 crores also need a lot of political backing to make a case for themselves in order to have a JPC probe but the softdrinks had “been there, done that” in August 2003 itself. Old issues like Pesticides used for farming that led to a major health crisis amongst inhabitants of Kerala has got huge ratings for shows like Satyamev Jayate even in 2012. Punjab has the unique privilege of running its very own “Cancer train”. Cylinders, by law, can be sold under ISI certification only and yet reports of accidents of cylinders bursting are not a rarity. In cases as recent as May 2012, even major political leaders like Prakash Karat, general secretary of Communist Party of India(M), presiding over party meetings where over 200 party members were sitting, could not evade a LPG cylinder that burst at a distance of few 5 metres from the venue and could have posed a serious threat to life. Children still get shocks from sockets at home while electric switches are under mandatory ISI certification. In Mumbai recently, 643 bikers were fined Rs 200/- each for wearing helmets within a span of three days. Does not make any sense, right? Here is the complete story. They were apparently wearing helmets that did not carry ISI logos on them. This group of citizens, that follow traffic laws and wear helmets, is a rare sight in India and it was understandable when they were infuriated with the authorities for penalizing them. But the authorities were authorized by the commissioner to do so under Section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act. “What is an ISI mark by the way?” is what 40% of Indians might ask you. But as they say, ‘The Khans got around and they also roped in the Tendulkars and the Dhonis to advertise and the glamour quotient got the poor drinking again’. The public memory is often short-lived and more importantly, has at its peril a lot of other issues to deal with. The attitude of the people is ‘Somebody will take care of that one. Ye india hai, yaha sab chalta hai.’ This is in its very true sense “The Great Indian Tragedy”. Everybody knew what the issue was, they got the names right, they drummed up the issue, sparked off the debates but nobody did what was needed- a follow up! And this paper is an attempt to do just that.

Keywords: BIS, ISI, Consumer, Quality, Pesticide

JEL Classification: Working Paper Series

Suggested Citation

Relhan, Vibhor, How Effective is the Current Procedure of Product Quality Standardization in the Indian Market?: A Case Study on Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) - National Standards Body (July 20, 2012). Researching Reality Summer Internship Working Paper, July 2012, Available at SSRN: or

Vibhor Relhan (Contact Author)

Center for Civil Society ( email )

K-36 Hauz Khas
Hauz Khas
New Delhi, Assam 110016

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics