There is a "desperate need" for India to set up proper standards for goods as high tariffs and restrictions are not enough to rein in "undesirable imports", Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) needs to expedite the process of setting up these standards because a legitimate tool to stop such imports does not exist in the country, she said.
"BIS will have to do the catching up. Standards are being set up every where. We need standards," she said.
These remarks assumes significance amid concerns being raised by the domestic industry on rising imports of sub- standard quality products from countries like China.
Although a few sectors such as pharmaceuticals have set up high standards for themselves, other sectors have yet to follow suit, Sitharaman said.
High tariffs or putting quantitative restrictions would not be of much help to domestic industries, she added.
BIS is involved in formulation of standards, certification and registration.
"Unless we have set standards, it is not going to be possible for us to stop unwanted and undesirable imports.
There is no way in which just tariff measures are going to be sufficient to stop such imports which we do not desire," she said here at the 'National Standards Conclave 2016'.
"In order to bypass such shortcomings, we are pushing more in terms of tariffs or quantitative restrictions, but that does not help," the minister said, adding, "my social media is flooded with (questions that) why can't we stop this (imports)".
Industry should come out with listed set of norms so that "we can say that we will not entertain import of any commodity" below these set standards and quality, she added.
She further said that even for domestic producers, the benchmark should be fixed for high quality products.
"The need for setting up standards cannot be overstated, you need to act on it now," she added.
Speaking at the event, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that the importance of standards is increasing in on Thursday's global trade scenario.
There is a need to work closely with SMEs to familiarise and support them in adopting high standards in order to compete in global markets, Teaotia said adding, "we need to set up a strong ecosystem for standards for export promotion and safety of people here".
She also said that work on services standards too is in the progress and the ministry has identified - tourism, healthcare and education - for the purpose.
Quality Council of India Chairman Adil Zainulbhai also said that right ecosystem and standards needs to be created to provide high quality goods for exports and domestic market.