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Prof. Thomas Asks Industry to Provide Higher Quality Standards of Products and Services to the Consumer Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Awards Presented

New Delhi. Bureau of Indian Standards has developed quality standards on important social issues like social accountability, fraud & corruption control, and good governance practices. With a view to improving quality of public services it has also prepared the Indian Standard on `Quality Management Systems. These standards should be governing principles for our industrial establishments. This was said by Prof. K.V.Thomas, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and while presenting Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Awards here today. The Minister said that no more the buyer can be taken for granted by manufacturers of goods and providers of services. They have to ensure that the quality they offer covers all aspects of quality in totality.

The Minister presented Rajiv Gandhi Quality Awards and commendation certificate for maintaining higher quality standards in Industrial and Service Sector for the year 2011. These awards were presented in the category of Large Scale Manufacturing Industry, Large Scale Service Industry, Small Scale Manufacturing Industry and Commendation Certificates in the area of Chemical, Electrical & Electronics, Engineering Industry, Food and Drug, Metallurgical and Health care and others. This year ‘Best of all Awards’ went to DAV ACC Senior Secondary Public School Barmana, Himachal Pradesh for maintaining higher services standards.

Full Text of the Minister’s Address made on the occasion is as follows:

“It gives me immense pleasure to be with you today on the occasion of presentation of “Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Awards 2011” to those entrepreneurs, who had excelled with outstanding contribution either in manufacture of products or extension of service in the market place. We all know that the Award, aptly named after our late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi ji, in recognition of the new thrust that he gave to the quality movement in India to enable it to move with confidence into the 21st century, was designed by the BIS on the lines of international quality awards such as the `Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award of USA`, `Deming Prize of Japan` and ‘European Quality Award.’ India is going to be one of the top economies of the world sooner than later, and, therefore, winning the Award has come to be counted as due recognition conferred by the country on manufacturers of goods and service providers in India for their excellence in their chosen fields of activity, and, therefore, is eagerly looked forward to.

Times are fast changing in India. The days of scarcity of products and services are over. It has become a buyers’ market of late and rightly so. No more can the buyer be taken for granted. ‘Take or leave’ as a phrase has been replaced by ‘give or vanish.’ Therefore, manufacturers of goods and service providers have to ensure that the quality they offer covers all aspects in totality – starting from durability and efficiency, right through after-sales service. And, for the manufacturers of goods, environment poses another challenge. They have to be environment-friendly, too. The carbon credits that a company gets are also indicators of its level of success.

Globalization not only brings before you the whole world as a market to exploit; it also brings in too many players from different parts of the world with whom we are expected to compete. ‘Protectionism’ is a word that may sound fine in the short run, but, in the long run, only those who prefer stiff competition around them, and who prepare themselves by keeping themselves abreast of the latest trends and technology, management and cost cutting techniques, and who strive to provide goods and services of top quality at an affordable price are destined to survive. Just for example, we may very well recall a recent news item informing us that four Japanese automakers were recalling 3.4 million vehicles sold around the world because airbags installed in them were at risk of catching fire or injuring passengers. This is what I would call ‘building reputation for quality.’ It shows that they prefer reputation to profit. They vote for a stronger foundation because theirs is a long-term goal, which is not only in the interest of the consumers, but in the interest of the industry as well.

This one incident will prove that our manufacturers of goods and service providers have a great stake at hand – that of competing with the best in the world. The assumptions gaining ground that India would be among the top three economic powers of the world in a few decades from now depend on the strength of the Indian economy as it is expected to grow, which in turn is dependent on how strong our business establishments, both in the manufacturing and service sectors, are going to be in terms of the quality of their products and services. Therefore, I would like to reiterate that quality must be the top-most priority of our industries. ‘Total Quality Management (TQM),’ is the word to go by.

The Bureau of Indian Standards is the authority in India established with the objectives of ensuring harmonious development of standardization, marking and quality certification and to evolve a national strategy for according recognition to standards and integrating them with growth and development of production and exports. Its publications on Indian Standards on important social issues like social accountability, fraud & corruption control, and good governance practices should be governing principles of our industrial establishments. Our industries must voluntarily put themselves before these tests of fire, if they have to come out stronger to face international competition in the global market. You will also be happy to know that with a view to improving its services quality, at the initiative of Government of India, BIS has prepared the Indian Standard on `Quality Management Systems – Requirements for Service Quality by Public Service Organizations.’

My speech will be incomplete without special mention about the service industry in India which, you all will agree, forms the backbone of social and economic development of a country. It has emerged as the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world economy, making higher contributions to the global output and employment. Its growth rate has also been found to be higher than those of agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Trade in services has been expanding rapidly worldwide owing to technological improvements which have reduced the cost of cross-border exchange, and facilitated the growth of new categories of exports. In India, the service sector – especially in the areas of health and education – and also comprising trading, transportation and communication, real estate and business services account for about 59% of GDP in fiscal year 2012, and, therefore, accounts for major share in terms of employment potential and national income generation. In terms of country’s total export basket, the share of service sector has increased from about 20% in 2000 to about 26% in 2012. It is, therefore, only natural that the Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Awards also take care of achievements in the service sector also.

I am glad to know that today, among the winners of the awards we have the “Best of All” award being conferred on a school under service sector. This is a welcome move which will definitely encourage service providers in the fields of health care, IT, finance, etc. to compete for this award, thereby motivating them to achieve more. I take this opportunity to congratulate all the award winners and recipients of commendation certificates. We know that this honour does not come to them easily. The evaluation mechanism being adopted by the BIS in choosing the winners are based on sound principles – covering aspects relating to quality and business results as also a winner’s concern for social outreach and ecology. It is heartening to know that some of the commendation certificate awardees had done excellent work in social area – and that one of the award winners got this recognition for its outstanding contribution that resulted in about 3 lakh families benefitting through their activities.

I am happy to note that some of the earlier awardees of the Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Awards have also won international quality awards. I have no doubt that to-day’s winners will also go on to become world leaders in their business activities. I would also like to thank all those who have participated in this award process. Though all of them could not make it to the final round of winners, I am sure they will continue their pursuit towards excellence and will emerge as winners in the coming years, bringing laurels to the country, and thereby contributing to its economic might”.[pib]