Atmanirbhar Bharat and IS Standards
Recent Govt of India's 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' initiative and anti-China public sentiments can come to reality, only if India produces products, that are better in quality and equal in price. Quality goods can not be produced consistently without standards. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) was established in 1986. Since then it has released numerous standards for wide range of products. However, many of these standards are voluntary, hence the consumer awareness plays an important role.
Let us take the example of current situation of COVID19 pandemic. The soap & sanitiser are every day need, for everybody. Using the nomenclature of BIS; two major products are used now; namely, 'Toilet Soap Liquid' and 'Deodorising & Disinfectant Fluids'. The specifications for these products are as under;
With this awareness, let us have introspection. Did I know the existence of IS Standards for these products? Do I insist buying a product, which meets IS specifications? (To start with, at least a self declaration by the manufacturer; printed on the product). Most importantly, do I believe in the Indian Standards?
Generally our perception of quality is influenced by advertisements and brand face value e.g. MNC brand & Amitabh Bachchan!! We should believe in our own Indian standards and insist on buying household products that meet IS specifications. Else quality will remain bound only to high end products, like automobiles and will not reach the households. We have learned this, a hard way in recent epidemic days for example; the quality of: PPE, Mask, Hand wash, Sanitiser, Disinfectant liquid etc.
We talk of WHO & other international standards but forget our own IS. When consumers will demand products meeting IS specifications, the movement will force manufacturers to improve quality. With this pressure BIS will also update the standards and the nation will march on the road to 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.
Govt of India, introduced an Eco-labeling (Eco-Mark) scheme for Soaps & Detergents in the year 1992. This scheme insists on quality and ensures that consumers get products which are safe and eco-friendly. There other issues for the Govt to make it compulsory for all products, so it will remain voluntary. Hence the common consumer shall demand products with Eco-mark, for our own interest.
Public safety IS standards are available for free in public domain under Right to Information Act. Standards relevant to the subject are shortlisted below, for those interested. May be an eye opener for many of us!!
The photograph at the top is of a soap case. It is a soap commonly used for human body. In IS nomenclature it is called as 'Toilet Soap'. The 'Toilet Soaps' are classified as Grade1, Grade2 & Grade3; based on the 'Total Fatty Matter (TFM)' content (Please refer IS 2888:2004). TFM represents basic ingredient of a soap, hence higher the TFM content; better is the soap i.e. Grade1 soap. For example, as seen in the photo at the top, the soap is Grade1 with TFM content 80% - more than the minimum requirement of 76% (please see the table below).