Bureau Of Indian Standards - Product Certifications

The product certification scheme is basically voluntary and aims at providing quality, safety and dependability to the ultimate customer. Presence of certification mark known as Standard Mark on a product is an assurance of conformity to the specifications. The conformity is ensured by regular surveillance of the licensee’s performance by surprise inspections and testing of samples, drawn both from the factory and the market.

Introduction about Certification Scheme
Operating Principle
Fee Schedule
Application forms
Scheme of Testing and Inspection (STI)
Products covered under mandatory certification
Penalty for spurious marking and misuse of the Mark
Other Marking Schemes


The Bureau of Indian Standards, empowered through a legislative Act of the Indian Parliament, known as the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986, operates a product certification scheme. Till date it has granted more than 30000 licenses to manufacturers covering practically every industrial discipline from Agriculture to Textiles to Electronics. The certification allows the licencees to use the popular ISI mark, which has become synonymous with quality products for the Indian and neighbouring markets over the past 40 years. The Bureau’s predecessor, the Indian Standards Institution began operating the Product Certification Scheme in 1955. About 13000 licenses are currently in operation covering about 1000 products.

Certification System

The BIS product certification scheme is essentially voluntary in nature, and is largely based on ISO Guide 28, which provides general rules for third party certification system of determining conformity with product standards through initial testing and assessment of a factory quality management system and its acceptance followed by surveillance that takes into account the factory quality management system and the testing of samples from the factory and the open market. All BIS certification is carried out on Indian Standards, which have been found amenable to product certification. A sizable number of Indian Standards have however, been harmonised with ISO/IEC Standards and some are dual numbered as IS/ISO or IS/IEC Standards.

A large number of operational elements of the BIS Product Certification Scheme correspond with the requirements of ISO Guide 65.

Types of Licensing

Although, the scheme itself offers voluntary licensing, the Government of India, on considerations of public health and safety, and mass consumption has enforced mandatory certification of 135 products through orders issued from time to time under various Acts. While the Bureau continues to grant licences only on application, the enforcement of compulsory certification is done by the notified authorities. Given later in this document is a list of items brought under mandatory certification, together with the corresponding Indian Standard Number and the authorities responsible for enforcing the orders.

Under separate arrangements with statutory agencies some products have been placed under special certification schemes of lot or batch inspection, carried out by BIS Inspecting officers. A majority of gas cylinders and valves are certified through such schemes. Under agreement with UNICEF, deep well hand-pumps, a critical potable water supply source for rural areas, is also licensed under a lot inspection scheme.

For all other products, the manufacturer is permitted the right to self certify the products after ascertaining its conformity to the Standard licensed for. Through its surveillance operations, the bureau maintains a close vigil on the quality of goods certified.

Provision exists for sub-contracting certification surveillance activities to competent agencies in specific areas. Some steel products, rubber products and electronic products are presently under such surveillance agreements.

Operational Areas

The BIS Product Certification Scheme is open to manufacturers in all countries without discrimination. However, overseas certification is carried out after a suitable mutual recognition agreement has been signed with the respective country. While a licence can be granted for any Indian Standard specifying product characteristics, which is amenable to certification, the broad areas of technologies now under certification are:

Chemicals and Pesticides
Rubber and Plastic products
Cement and concrete products
Basic metals and fabricated metal products
Machinery and equipment
Electrical, electronics and optical equipment
Automotive components
Agriculture, food, beverages and tobaccos
Leather products
Wood products
Paper and pulp products
Testing instruments
Building materials
Pumping, irrigation, drainage and sewage equipment
Operating Principles

The BIS Product certification Scheme operates in an impartial, non-discriminatory and transparent manner. The documents stating the powers, rights and responsibilities of BIS and the affected sectors of society are published by the Government of India as the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986, Rules and (Certification) Regulations, 1988. A compilation of these, together with the licensing procedure has also been published by the BIS and can be purchased from ‘Director (Sales), Bureau of Indian Standards, 9 B. S. Zafar Marg, New Delhi 110 002, India for Rs.25. The specific rules for operating a licence are given in another document called the Scheme of Testing and Inspection (STI), described later. Procedures provide for maintaining a very high degree of confidentiality and integrity among its personnel who perform certification related tasks. A body called the ‘Certification Advisory Committee’ composed of person from varied sectors like manufacturers, consumers, Government agencies and industries associations reviews the performance of the scheme and advises on key policy issues. Internally, a senior functionary designated as ‘Additional Director General (Marks)’ is responsible for ensuring that the scheme operates within the framework of the rules and procedures established.


The finances of the bureau are self-managed, with certification operations accounting for more than 80 percent of the revenue. The BIS employs a staff complement of engineers, scientists and statisticians to cater to all its fields of operations. They are trained into evaluation and assessment techniques to a high degree of professional competence. All preliminary and surveillance inspections are carried out by qualified personnel only. BIS has set up eight laboratories in different cities of India for testing samples of products taken during preliminary and surveillance operations. In addition, independent laboratories that have demonstrated ability and a quality system complying with ISO Guide 25 have been recognized for testing of samples drawn.

The certifications scheme operates through a network of 17 Branch Offices set up in state capitals or major industrial towns and 5 regional offices overseeing the work of the Branch Offices.



The procedure for grant of BIS Certification Marks Licence begins with filing the application in the prescribed application form (Form I) by the manufacturer desirous of obtaining the licence. A licence is granted for varieties of products covered under a given Indian Standard. The forms alongwith the application fee of Rs.1000 is required to be submitted to the Branch Office under whose jurisdiction the manufacturing unit is located.

Overseas applicants may approach the ‘Director, Central Marks Department’ at BIS Head Quarters, New Delhi.

1.2 The following additional documents are required to be submitted with the application:

a) Location map of factory and factory layout
b) Documentation authenticating the premises of manufacture
c) List of manufacturing equipment and testing facilities available
d) Scheme of testing and inspection in use, or any proposed to be used, together with an undertaking to follow the scheme approved by BIS after grant of Licence
e) An undertaking to pay the prescribed marking fee from the date of grant of licencef) An undertaking to follow all terms and condition of grant of licence and to suspend marking with immediate effect in the event of suspension or cancellation of licence.g) A flow chart describing the sequence of production and inspection stages.
2. Registration

2.1 On scrutiny, if the application is found complete in all respects, it is recorded and assigned a registration number. The application is acknowledged and the number is conveyed to the applicant for future reference.
3. Preliminary Inspection

3.1 Preliminary inspection of the unit is carried out on a mutually agreed date, which should be called within a month of registration. During this inspection the firm’s manufacturing capability and controls, quality control techniques, facilities available and the technical skills of the personnel are evaluated. Samples of products are tested and also drawn for testing in BIS or other independent laboratories.

3.2 Preliminary visits are charged to the applicant at a uniform rate of Rs 2000 per day. A majority of inspections, depending on the size of unit and complexity of work, can be completed within a day. Testing charges have to be paid by the applicant as per the laboratories’ rate schedules.

3.3 During the preliminary inspection, the Scheme of Testing and Inspection is discussed with the applicant’s management.

4. Scheme Of Testing And Inspection

4.1 The Scheme of Testing and Inspection (STI) is a document, (which specifies the control over production process) to exercise for operating the certification marks licence. This is prepared by BIS in consultation with the first applicant for the product. For subsequent applications, the applicability of the available STI is reviewed and changes are made if necessary.

4.2 The STI contains, inter alia the following provisions:

a) Markings to be applied on the product and the method of applying the Standard Mark.

b) Definition of control unit.

c) Levels of control to be applied.

d) Acceptance criteria, control unit wise.

e) Frequency of sampling and tests on raw materials, in process materials and finished products.

f) Directions to licencees in the event of quality related problems.

g) A clause requiring free replacement of goods in case a complaint in established bonafide.

Grant of Licence

A licence is granted to the applicant if results of preliminary inspection and independent testing are satisfactory, and the applicant has paid the advance minimum-marking fee. The initial validity of the licence is for one year, which can be extended on application for further periods of two years at a time, subject to satisfactory operation of the licence. The scope of a licence can be extended at any time by adding more varieties covered by the Indian Standard, after due testing.

Supervisory Controls over Licencee’s Performance

After the grant of licence, the manufacturer is authorised to mark his products on condition that he implements the STI fully, his products conform to the Indian Standard and he maintains a record of tests carried out. Post certification controls are exercised through surveillance inspections at the licencees unit periodically. During these inspections, thorough technical auditing of the quality control system is carried out with reference to the STI document. Samples of current production are tested, and also drawn for testing in BIS or independent laboratories. Additional controls are maintained by drawing market samples and getting them tested in independent laboratories. The results of inspections and product testing are communicated to the licensee as appropriate with suitable advices. Marking can be stopped if consistent deficiencies are observed. Licence is renewed at the end of its validity after a review of past performance.

A licence can be suspended or cancelled following serious discrepancies, particularly if the product does not conform to the Indian Standard.

Other Product Certification Schemes

Besides the normal product certifications scheme, BIS also grants licences to environment friendly products under special scheme and awards the ECO MARK to such products. These products should conform to additional requirements specified in the Indian Standards to qualify.

BIS is a National Certifying Body (issuing and recognising) under the IEC System for Conformity testing and certification of electrical products (IECEE). The Product categories for which BIS has IECEE acceptance are: cables and chords; capacitors as components; low voltage high power switching equipment; installation protective equipment; electronics.

BIS is the National Authorised Institution and the National Standards Organisation under the IEC System of Quality Assessment of Electronic components (IECQ)

BIS acts as the surveillance agency for certifications granted by Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in India.

Fees Schedule for grant of licence

Marking fee

A schedule has been drawn giving the marking fee rates for each product. The marking fee comprises of a fixed element, which is the minimum payable amount per annum. A unit rate is also chargeable concurrently on the quantum of production marked. If the amount calculated on unit rate basis exceeds the minimum marking fee, that fees becomes chargeable

i) Application fee (non-refundable) Rs.100

ii) Application fee for renewal of Licence Rs.500

iii) Testing charges for independent testing Variabl

iv) Inspection Charges (per day) Rs.200

v) Marking fee Variable

vi) Annual licence fee Rs.100

Penalties for spurious marking:

Under section 22(1) of the BIS Act 1986, any person who contravenes the provisions of Section 11, Section12, Section14 or Section 15 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with a fine, which may extend to Rs.50000 or with both.
Posted By Harish Yadav
Posted On Jun 16, 2007
Views 9250

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