India’s accreditation system ranked 5th globally; overall quality infrastructure system in Top 10

India’s national accreditation system under the Quality Council of India (QCI) has been ranked 5th in the world in the recent Global Quality Infrastructure Index (GQII) 2021. The GQII ranks the 184 economies in the world on the basis of the quality infrastructure (QI). India’s overall QI system ranking continues to be in the Top 10 at the 10th position, with the standardization system (under BIS) at 9th and the metrology system (under NPL-CSIR) at 21st position in the world.

Source: GQII
“This is the sign of a New India in the Amrit Kaal with a quality first approach. India’s accreditation system is the youngest among the three QI pillars in India, and we have jumped to global fifth within a year in these rankings. QCI, under the leadership of Hon. Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi ji and Hon. Commerce & Industry Minister Sh. Piyush Goyal ji, is committed to make ‘Made in India’ a globally trusted brand on the foundations of quality and credibility. Time is ripe to provide more support to our businesses to pursue their quality journey in mission mode,” said Shri Jaxay Shah, Chairperson, QCI on this occasion.

QI is the technical backbone for international trade, with metrology, standardization, accreditation and conformity assessment services providing reliability and trust between trading partners. In India, the National Physical Laboratory under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (NPL-CSIR) is the national metrology institute, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the national standards body and the constituent national accreditation boards under Quality Council of India support are the custodians of the national accreditation system.

The GQII measures the relative development of countries’ QI. A formula calculates a score for each country based on its position in the sub-rankings for metrology, standards and accreditation. Geographically, the top 25 QI systems are mainly located in Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific, with some exceptions, such as India (10th), Brazil (13th), Australia (14th), Turkey (16th), Mexico (18th) and South Africa (20th).

Accreditation helps establish the competence and credibility of conformity assessment bodies (CABs) which perform testing, certification, inspection, etc. The National Accreditation System as per international standards in India is established by the Quality Council of India (QCI), a body established in 1997 jointly by the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and the Indian industry. It is operated through the constituent Boards of QCI, primarily the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB), which provides accreditation to the certification, inspection, and validation / verification bodies, and the National Accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories (NABL), which provides accreditation to the testing, calibration and medical laboratories. Both, NABCB and NABL are signatories to the Multilateral Recognition Arrangements of the international bodies, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), which provides international equivalence and acceptance to reports and certificates issued under their accreditation. The government, regulators, industry and conformity assessment bodies increasingly rely on the NABCB and NABL accreditation for conformity assessment in India.

The rise in India’s accreditation ranking is attributed to the steady growth of conformity assessment bodies (CABs) under national accreditation system. These are testing & medical labs, product certification bodies, and management systems certification bodies. Stressing the importance of Quality Infrastructure and role of QCI, Dr. Ravi P. Singh, Secretary General, QCI, stated, “India is on the path of self-reliance and we are no longer governed by other countries to innovate and improve. Our systems are being emulated by other countries now. The significance of our National Accreditation System in improving quality of products and services cannot be over-emphasised and this recognition will help us create a more independent ecosystem for regulators and government to use for conformity of any standard. Both our boards NABL and NABCB have worked well, and they need to be supported more”

The GQII rankings are published and presented post-facto for each year based on the data collected till the end of that year. The 2021 rankings are based on data till end of December 2021, collected and analyzed through 2022. It is an initiative on metrology, standardisation, accreditation and related services, supported by Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany.

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