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
Introduction about Certification Scheme
Scheme of Testing and Inspection (STI)
Products covered under mandatory certification
Penalty for spurious marking and misuse
of the Mark
Other Marking Schemes
PRODUCT CERTIFICATION SCHEME
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.
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.
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
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.
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
- 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
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
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.
PREREQUISITES FOR GRANT OF LICENCE
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
c) List of manufacturing equipment and testing
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.
2.1 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.
3.1 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
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
3.3 During the preliminary inspection, the Scheme of
Testing and Inspection is discussed with the applicant’s
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
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.
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.
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;
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
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
|i) Application fee (non-refundable)
|ii) Application fee for renewal of Licence
|iii) Testing charges for independent testing
|iv) Inspection Charges (per day)
|v) Marking fee
|vi) Annual licence fee
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.
For further information please contact: Director
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