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3rd International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards (ICSTS)


The Quality Council of India (QCI), an autonomous organization of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry hosted the 3rd International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards (ICSTS) in New Delhi.


GS II: Government Policies and Inerventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Event Organization and Purpose
  2. Key Highlights
  3. Quality Council of India (QCI)

Event Organization and Purpose:

  • The 3rd International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards (ICSTS) was organized as a two-day event by the India National Platform on Private Sustainability Standards (India PSS Platform), with QCI hosting it in collaboration with the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS).
  • ICSTS aimed to create awareness and facilitate discussions on the challenges and advantages of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) in enhancing the environmental and social aspects of global value chains.

Key Highlights:

  • Bilateral Agreement with ARSO: QCI and the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) signed an agreement to enhance trade relations and harmonize standards, with a focus on promoting global trade.
  • International Partnerships: India established partnerships with Brazil and Mexico and further extended cooperation with ARSO in the realm of Voluntary Sustainability Standards.
  • Importance of Sustainability Standards: Emphasis was placed on sustainability standards as essential rules to ensure that the products purchased do not harm the environment or the people involved in their production.
  • ONDC Initiative: The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) initiative was spotlighted for its role in driving digitalization in e-commerce within India, enhancing accessibility and efficiency in the digital age. It adhered to international standards, ensuring data confidentiality and trustworthiness.
  • Digital Readiness Assessment: QCI was designated to assess the digital readiness of entities, facilitating their smooth integration into the ONDC Network’s Seller App.
  • Alignment of Agricultural Standards: During ICSTS, India Good Agricultural Practices (IndG.AP.) standards were compared to GLOBAL Good Agricultural Practices (GLOBALG.A.P.) standards through the National Technical Working Group (NTWG) mechanism. Furthermore, the creation of National Interpretation Guidelines (NIG) occurred at the event, enabling the alignment of Indian agricultural practices with global standards and offering guidelines for their application in India.
  • Benefiting Farmers: These efforts are expected to benefit approximately 12,000 farmers by ensuring that they meet international standards for quality and sustainability.

Quality Council of India (QCI):

  • QCI is a non-profit organization registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.
  • It was jointly founded in 1997 through a collaboration between the Government of India and prominent industry associations, namely the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
  • QCI’s primary objective is to enhance and promote quality standards across diverse sectors in India.
  • It assumes responsibility for accreditation, certification, and quality promotion within the Indian context.
Nodal Point for Quality Matters:
  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), part of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, was designated as the focal point for all matters related to quality.
  • DPIIT collaborates with QCI to structure and facilitate the implementation of Cabinet decisions in this regard.
Council Governance and Composition:
  • QCI operates under the governance of a Council comprised of 39 members, including the Chairperson and Secretary General.
  • The Chairperson is nominated by the Prime Minister of India.
  • The Council features equal representation from the Government, Industry, and other Stakeholders, ensuring a balanced and inclusive approach to quality-related initiatives.

December 2023