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Inspection Certificates and Quality Control

  • Introduction
  • ISI Certification
  • AgMmark Certification
  • Benefits of ISI and Agmark Certification
  • In-Process Quality Control (IPQC)
  • Self Certification Scheme
  • ISO 9000
Introduction :
An important aspect about the goods to be exported is compulsory quality control and pre-shipment inspection. For this purpose, Export Inspection Council (EIC) was set up by the Government of India under Section 3 of the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963. It includes more than 1000 commodities which are organized into various groups for a compulsory pre-shipment inspection. It includes Food and Agriculture, Fishery, Minerals, Organic and Inorganic Chemicals, Rubber Products, Refractoriness, Ceramic Products, Pesticides, Light Engineering, Steel Products, Jute Products, Coir and Coir Products, Footwear and Footwear Products. . The Act empowers the Central Government to notify commodities and their minimum standards for exports, generally international standards or standards of the importing countries and to set up suitable machinery for inspection and quality control. The EIC is assisted in its functions by the Export Inspection Agencies (EIAs) located at Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai having a network of 38 sub-offices and laboratories to back up the pre-shipment inspection and certification activity. In addition, EIC also designates inspection agencies and laboratories to supplement its own activities as required. Presently 42 inspection agencies have been designated for inspection of minerals and iron ore and 14 labs for supplementing EIC’s testing for primarily food products. The designation is done based on international norms namely ISO 17020 and ISO 17025 for inspection agencies and labs respectively.
ISI Certification :
Indian Standards Institute now known as Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) is a registered society under a Government of India. BIS main functions include the development of technical standards, product quality and management system certifications and consumer affairs.
Agmark Certification :
AgMark is an acronym for Agricultural Marketing and is used to certify the food products for quality control. Agmark has been dominated by other quality standards including the non manufacturing standard ISO 9000.
Benefits of ISI and Agmark Certification :
Products having ISI Certification mark or Agmark are not required to be inspected by any agency. These products do not fall within the purview of the export inspection agencies network. The Customs Authorities allow export of such goods even if not accompanied by any pre-shipment inspection certificate, provided they are otherwise satisfied that the goods carry ISI Certification or the Agmark.
In-Process Quality Control (IPQC) :
In-Process Quality Control (IPQC) inspection is mainly done for engineering products and is applied at the various stages of production. Units approved under IPQC system of in-process quality control may themselves issue the certificate of inspection, but only for the products for which they have been granted IPQC facilities. The final certificate of inspection on the end-products is then given without in-depth study at the shipment stage.
Self Certification Scheme :
Under the self Certification Scheme, large exporters and manufacturers are allowed to inspect their product without involving any other party. The facility is available to manufacturers of engineering products, chemical and allied products and marine products. Self-Certification is given on the basis that the exporter himself is the best judge of the quality of his products and will not allow his reputation to be spoiled in the international market by compromising on quality. Self-Certification Scheme is granted to the exporter for the period of one year. Exporters with proven reputation can obtain the permission for self certification by submitting an application to the Director (Inspection and Quality Control), Export Inspection Council of India, 11th Floor, Pragati Tower, 26 Rajendra Place, New Delhi.
ISO 9000 :
The discussion on inspection certificate and quality control is incomplete without ISO-9000. Established in 1987, ISO 9000 is a series of international standards that has been accepted worldwide as the norm assuring high quality of goods. The current version of ISO 9000 is ISO 9000:2000.
Strengthening Laboratory Capabilities :
EIC is also concentrating on strengthening of its laboratory capabilities. The laboratories at Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Veraval and Quilon were upgraded with new equipment including Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICPMS), Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS), Gas Chromatography High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (GCHRMS) etc. depending on the requirements. In addition, implementation of systems as per ISO 17025 was a focus area and the laboratories at Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata continued to strengthen such systems and were assessed for accreditation by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). The lab at Chennai received NABL accreditation wef 17 October 2007 while the lab at Kochi is already accredited. EIC also has labs at 13 sub offices for doing routine microbiological and some heavy metal testing. These Sub-office laboratories were also prepared for implementation of ISO 17025 and basic documents were developed.