Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB) held the first national standards conclave to create awareness among the different stakeholders about standardisation in Thimphu yesterday. 

According to the BSB Act 2010, standards means a document established by consensus and approved by the Bureau that provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.

Director general of BSB, Sonam Phuntsho, said that as BSB is about to finalise the 12th Plan and its implementation details, a discourse on national standardisation would provide the direction and purpose to achieve the desired outcome. “Standardisation process involves active collaboration of users of standards, regulators and other stakeholders including industry, purchaser and conformity assessment service providers.”

Through the conclave, he said that BSB wants to bring everyone together to have a clear understanding on how to go about developing national standards. “This event will enable us to make the first step in terms of gathering information on the needs of standards of various entities so that we can come up with a plan.”

More than 30 participants from various government and private sectors attended the daylong conclave. They were also requested to submit data on the standards needed to the bureau by the end of this month. Compilation of the data and finalisation of standards needs in the form of a draft National Standardisation  Strategy would then be framed. 

Sonam Phuntsho said that despite BSB’s limited capacity and resources, it commits to uphold international standardisation principles and to provide standardisation services to all the stakeholders. “However, as resources are limited, BSB requests your support in terms of sharing your standardisation needs for the 12th Plan and beyond.”

Secretary of Gross National Happiness Commission, Thinley Namgyel, said that if there are good standards, qualities of goods and services could be assured.  “It’s not that we don’t have standards. We do have standards but no one is really taking care to see that these standards are being implemented on the ground.”

He said that sometimes one standard is in conflict or in duplication of the other.

“Maybe today’s forum will provide us an opportunity to sit together and review what improvements, changes or new standards we need to develop.”

Head of the standardisation division, Tshering Tashi, said that national standards aim in harmonisation of standards to facilitate trade, sustainable economic development, development of quality products that meets international standards, improving efficiency and quality of services, ensure public health and safety and protection of environment. 

He added that national standards are developed to cater to the nine domains of the GNH development philosophy based on the consensus and request of the stakeholders. “Unless the stakeholders put a request to BSB, we cannot put up national standards of our own.” 

Karma Cheki