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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

Implementation of legal metrology legislation assumes special significance: Prof. Thomas

Aarfa Rajput,, The Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Prof. K V Thomas has stressed on the implementation of legal metrology legislation to raise the level of performance and standards of weights and measures and protect the interests of consumers. Inaugurating the All India Conference of Legal Metrology here today Prof. Thomas said, ‘with increasing reliance on the market for providing merit goods and even essential commodities, the regulation of fair domestic trade from a legal angle now extends way beyond the traditional concept of weights and measures. The time calls for concerted action from all of us, to protect the consumer by using new developments in legislation and also just enforcement.’ If consumer distrust develops beyond a point and good redress measures are not in place, the faith of the consumer in the open markets itself would be affected to our disadvantage, Prof. Thomas asserted. Touching upon some salient features of the Legal Metrology Bill 2009, the Minister said, ‘the testing for standards shall now not be restricted to government laboratories. A new concept of Government Approved Test Centres (GATCc) has been introduced which will break the monopoly of the vested interests in the sector and offer competitive testing facility for industry and entrepreneurs.’ He said that the GATCs must be used gradually to expand the scope of testing and calibrating testing equipment and new entries like electricity metres, vehicular pollution, clinical medicine equipments, medical electronic equipments, brought under its ambit. Allaying the fears expressed by some quarters that the government is diluting its responsibility, Prof. Thomas pointed out that the private sector participation will only improve the overall capability. Referring to Central Sector Scheme of Rs. 144 crore for strengthening weights and measures infrastructure of States and Union Territories, the Minister said that scheme must be used for adequate instrumentation and capacity building. Capacity building of the enforcement officials in Bureau of Indian Standards and other referral laboratories can be funded from the project. He informed that the Fluid Control Research Institute, Kerala is going to be the nodal agency for the laboratory management, verification lab for the dispensers used for fuels, CNG and LPG. The Minister expressed the opinion that the States and Centre need to be in constant conversation also. He also called for more coordination with institutions like the National Physical Laboratory in the coming days. D-334

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