Standards are vital but products should be affordable too: Sitharaman

Standards are vital but products should be affordable too: Sitharaman

India must actively participate in setting up of such standards, said Sitharaman.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said on Monday that India has to take lead in making available the quality products to the world at reasonable prices, while emphasising that while standards are important to signify quality they are also made to be affordable for producers to follow and consumers to purchase.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of ‘Zero Effect Zero Defect’ aims at exactly this,” she said while inaugurating the 4th National Standards Conclave.

She stated that any strategy at national level for standards should have to include technology for disseminating any change in requirements of import in foreign nations so that India’s exporters would be well-prepared to face those hurdles, while adding that the dissemination should be in the regional languages.

She further said that this has become crucial as there is an increase in the number of notifications in World Trade Organisation (WTO) and several are related to standards.

Sitharaman also highlighted the issues related to agriculture where the standards set by world bodies often affect the varieties from India.

She emphasised that international standards, specifically related to food, have to take into consideration variety rather than homogeneity. India must take active participation in setting up of such standards.

“When sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) controls are put on agro products, like mango or grapes unilaterally, they hurt our farmers. Similarly, the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) of certain pesticides or biocides are altered too quickly in the foreign markets and farmers are taken by surprise,” she added.

Therefore, efforts have to be put to send quick information  to exporters and farmers, she added.

The Minister said that she hoped that the strategy proposed would serve as a guide or a type of framework which helps in avoiding such type of crises at the negotiation round itself.