NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of World Standards Day, which was observed earlier this month, the European Union planned on standardising the USB-C charging port on all mobile devices from 2024 onwards.
In two years from now, all electronic mobile products including smartphones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU must come equipped with the USB-C port for charging the device and for data transfer.
While technically, laptops also fall into the category of portable mobile devices, manufacturers have time until 2026 to iron out the details. It’s a measure whose effect is being felt in India as well, where the government is keen on introducing a single charger mandate.
The intent is to reduce the burden of e-waste on the planet. The idea of standardisation can be traced back to Japanese entrepreneurs in the post World War II era, who employed the concept of Kaizen to their everyday business activities to efficiently increase their output.
The opportunities offered by the post-War years had enabled nations to build industrial competencies based around standardisation.
In the 70s-90s, the world turned to Japan for its electronic needs, while Germany still maintains a technical superiority in the field of automobile manufacturing.
China has turned standardisation on its head and blazed ahead of India in economic progress. Its potent mix of low labour costs, a strong business environment buoyed by a troubling lack of regulatory compliance as well as low taxes and duties, have turned it into the factory of the world.
While India has a vibrant trade ecosystem, we have a reputation for prioritising quantity over quality and cutting corners.
The European Union has raised 500 serious concerns over agri exports from India during the last two years. Even Indonesia had suspended agri shipments from here due to failure of compliance with registration renewal requirements regarding its 26 food certification labs for peanuts and grapes.
Also, both Taiwan and Iran have rejected several tea consignments from the country owing to phytosanitary concerns and the presence of pesticides beyond permissible limits.
On the industrial front, the Delhi High Court pulled up a major e-tailer directing it to notify over 2,000 customers that the pressure cookers purchased from the site did not conform to BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) norms.
The Central Consumer Protection Authority observed that the portal cannot claim a right to onboard vendors without conducting due diligence on whether their products are legally compliant.
The Centre has also taken up this matter with all due seriousness. Two weeks ago, the Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal had remarked that the BIS should emerge as a global player and a pioneer in the field of standardisation. The Minister expressed hopes that the BIS should shortly transform into a benchmark for quality control, assessment and assurance, aided by zero defect principles.
With an objective to fasten the sampling and testing of commodities for exports, the Centre has planned on increasing the number of testing labs in India.
The BIS has embarked upon a nation-wide mapping of testing labs, including private labs and those approved by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) as well as Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) labs.
The standards body is also involving stakeholders in order to frame a comprehensive strategy document on national standardisation i.e. Standards National Action Plan (SNAP) 2022-27.
The action plan identifies emerging areas of standardisation which support the government’s initiatives in spheres such as Digital India, smart agriculture, smart cities, among others.