In almost all the products, for which the pre-shipment inspection scheme has been introduced, great care has been taken to accept the buyer’s requirements, wherever known, as the basis of inspection. In many cases, where the buyer’s requirements are known through-an approved sample of, for example, footwear or handicrafts, inspection is carried out on the basis of the approved sample. However, for items involving safety, such as cables and conductors, only the national standards, either Indian or those of the importing country, have been adopted. In the case of commodities involving health hazard, such as fish and fishery products, statutory laws as applicable in the importing country for these products, are adhered to. This particular approach has been found to be extremely practical and has helped the exporters to maintain the quality of their products. For adopting or establishing technical specifications, detailed discussions are held with the trade and industry and other organizations, such as the Indian Standards Institution and the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection. In certain cases, minimum specifications are laid down for a specific purpose only, as for example, in the case of de-oiled rice bran, fumigation has been made compulsory for pre-shipment inspection.
The procedural details of the pre-shipment inspection schemes, which have been introduced, have been worked in close collaboration and in consultation with the representative of trade and industry. While preparing these detailed procedures, the existing trade practices are taken into consideration, and the relevant Government departments, including the customs authorities, are consulted. The general procedures for inspection are thereafter notified in the form of inspection rules under the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act for comments form the public. These notifications, containing the proposals for pre-shipment inspection schemes, are also circulated among important foreign buyers through the Indian Embassies/Trade Missions to obtain their comments. Officers of the Export Inspection Council discuss the details of the schemes with the representatives of trade and industry in the light of the comments they receive. In many cases, where the existing trade practices so require, the scheme in the first instance is introduced on a voluntary basis for a period of about 3 to 6 months; and only thereafter it is made compulsory. All the pre-shipment inspection schemes are periodically reviewed to keep abreast of technological developments and to ensure continuous improvement in quality.
Appellate panels have been set up for each commodity or group of commodities which have been brought under the compulsory pre-shipment inspection scheme so that any person. Who is aggrieved by the refusal of the inspection organization to give a certificate of export-worthiness for his products, can appeal to the panel and get his grievance redressed.
At present, the Export Council of India, the Indian Standards Institution, the Indian Statistical Institute, the National Productivity Council, the Indian Society of Quality Control and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade are responsible for generating an awareness of the problem of quality control. These organizations held seminars and are responsible for improvements in quality and for the formulation and implementation of standards.
Certain legislative measures, which have helped in the production of quality goods, include the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the Drugs Act, and the Fruit Products Control Order promulgated under the Essential Commodities Act. Though these Acts do not have a direct bearing on exports, they do help in promoting quality consciousness among Indian manufactures.
The Acts which are directly concerned with exports are the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963, the Textile Committee Act, the Certification of Goods under ISI Certification Marks Act and the Agriculture Produce (Grading and Marketing) Act. Since the enforcement of the export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963 definite improvements have taken place in the field of compulsory quality control and pre-shipment inspection.