To harmonise standards, the Bhutan Standard Bureau (BSB) organsied a workshop on May 10 in Thimphu.

Officials with BSB said that there is a need to create awareness on the importance and formation process of national standards.

Director general of BSB, Sonam Phuntsho, said that the main intent of BSB is harmonisation of standards. He said that if industries, producers or service providers are to do business, it is important for them to do it based on a specific standard. “If they do that, it can facilitate trade and market access,” he said.

He added that the main idea of harmonising and setting standards is to help industries and people in service business so that the quality of the products and services are enhanced.

Head of the standardisation division, Tshering Tashi, said that BSB could learn from ASTM,an organisation that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards, take their best practices and instill confidence in people.

ASTM has over 12,700 standards. BSB had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ASTM on March 2013. Today, BSB has signed MoU with about four international organisaions.

BSB has set more than 200 national standards to date. However, there are about 295 standards that are though sectoral termed as national standards according to a 2016 standards mapping exercise.

Hydropower has the maximum number of documents with over 200 standards, specifications, code of practice and guidelines followed by health and agriculture with over 100 standards each. Autonomous agencies, finance and labour ministries have over 50 standards, specifications, code of practice and guidelines.

The statistical yearbook 2017 and the standards mappings show an increase in GDP when the number of standards increases in a sector. It shows that economic affairs ministry which has the highest number of standards also has the highest GDP followed by a similar pattern with agriculture ministry.

It shows that sectors such as home and cultural ministry with the least standards also have the least GDP.

The exercise done among 36 agencies shows that among the nine domains of Gross National Happiness (GNH), living standards comprise 80 percent of the standards followed by health with 11 percent and good governance with six percent.

Karma Cheki