BIS to formulate standards for service sector, retail and ecommerce

Even as the domestic ecommerce sector is projected to grow by leaps and bounds in the near future, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is in the process of evolving standards for the services sector, including ecommerce and retail services.

India’s e-commerce is projected to proliferate exponentially and touch $ 150 billion by 2022 riding on the rapid growth of internet penetration among the middle class, according to a report by software body NASSCOM and consulting major PwC. Last year, the ecommerce space in India was pegged at US$ 36 billion.

BIS Head (international relations and technical information services) J Roy Chowdhury told Business Standard here today the Bureau had created an exclusive division to cater the domestic services sector and evolve standards for each of the different segments included there in.

“Earlier, BIS had 14 different division councils, however none for the services sector. Now, the 15th council has been set up for the services sector, which includes ecommerce as well,” he informed.

The other sectors included under the services head comprise communication services, environmental services, educational services, retail services, medical value travel, tourism and hospitality services, transport and logistics services etc.

“In fact, there are no definite standards exclusively for ecommerce in other countries as well, beyond the technical aspect of the sector,” he claimed.

However, since ecommerce transcends national boundaries and impinges on the satisfaction quotient of a consumer, it was felt that the sector should now have a set of standards and benchmarks to protect consumer interest and ensure quality of services, he said.

Chowdhury said a committee would be formed comprising all the stakeholders, including experts, industry, academia, R&D, regulators, consumers etc to hold consultations and study the benchmarks being adhered to globally before arriving at a conclusion and submitting the final report to the government.

BIS, the federal standards entity, functions under the union ministry of consumer affairs and food and public distribution. It was established under the BIS Act, 1986, which came into effect in December 1986. So far, BIS had been focussing on the manufacturing sector only.

However, with the growth of ecommerce, there have been deluge of complaints as well from Indian consumers about misspelling or even frauds pertaining to delivery of goods or refunds.

Meanwhile, the BIS organised its 11th Standards Conclave in Lucknow in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). At the proceedings, BIS panelists expressed concern over instances of substandard certifications being offered by some institutions to gullible industries, especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

BIS is also mapping the traditional industries taken up under the Yogi Adityanath government’s flagship One District, One Product (ODOP) scheme. It would conduct a detailed study across the 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh and submit a report to the government.

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