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QCI may regulate private certification agencies to protect Brand India


The Quality Council of India (QCI) is set to come out with regulations that will make it compulsory for private certification agencies to register themselves with accreditation bodies.

The idea is to ensure accountability of these agencies so that ‘brand India’ does not suffer from indiscriminate certification by unregulated agencies.

There are concerns that private agencies have been issuing ISO 9000 certificates without getting themselves registered with apex accreditation bodies.

ISO 9000 certificates are issued to firms and show that their goods and services meet international standards in quality management and assurance.

The QCI’s draft regulations are now being examined by the ministry of commerce. As per the draft, every accreditation agency will have to get registered with the QCI and its affiliates and maintain their certification data, said QCI secretary general Rajesh Maheshwari.

QCI is an autonomous organization of the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) in the commerce ministry.

Mushrooming private accreditation agencies, including some foreign ones, are causing concern, said Maheshwari.

There are instances of fake certificates being issued that tarnish the image of Brand India and business loss. As of now, the QCI has no statutory powers but once the rules are approved, the secretary general said, the QCI will be able to regulate certification agencies operating in India.

“QCI is accredited by the government as a national body, although we don’t have regulations,” he said. “The proposed set of regulations is aimed at making certification agencies accountable and making them responsible. A national registry for accreditation bodies is also proposed to ensure certifying agencies’ registration, so that action will be taken against them if found indulging in any malpractice,” Maheshwari said.

“When QCI was established through a cabinet decision, it is recorded that a law would be brought at later stage. We have started working on it. Except India, almost every country has its own Act on establishing accreditation infrastructure. Accreditation is a voluntary activity, but it becomes mandatory when an authority or a regulator prescribes it,” he said.

“There is an international trend of certifying the competence of a person, but in India, that’s not a concept. However, it has started building up at least in technical areas. Certification of crane and poclain operators, welders, electricians, lift operators have started. In foreign economies, even chemists are certified,” Maheshwari said, adding, it also helps professionals get jobs and better salaries.

The Quality Council of India is the nodal accreditation agency that certifies central testing agencies like the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH), etc.

India’s national accreditation system under the QCI was ranked 5th in the world in the recent Global Quality Infrastructure Index (GQII) 2021. A year ago, India was ranked 9th. The GQII ranks the 184 economies in the world on the basis of the quality infrastructure.

QCI consists of five boards—National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories, National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers, National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies, National Accreditation Board for Education and Training and National Board for Quality Promotion.