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Fifth National Conclave for Laboratories

From L-R:   Mr Anupam Kaul, Principal & Head-QMS, CII-IQ; Dr Vijay Narain Ojha, Chief Scientist, National Physical Laboratory; Dr R P Singh, Secretary General, Quality Council of India; Mr Peter Unger, Chair, International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation & Mr Anil Relia, Director, National Accreditation Board For Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) at the inaugural session of 5th National Conclave for Laboratories held on 27-28 October 2016, at New Delhi

Fifth  National Conclave for Laboratories

The CII Institute of Quality in partnership with the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) held the 5th National Conclave for Laboratories in New Delhi on 27th and 28th October, 2016. 

The Conclave brings together the vast community of scientists and engineers  engaged in managing industrial and medical laboratories in India  to discuss and evolve policies and development strategies for strengthening India's lab infrastructure and support the national conformity assessment programme that is vital both to trade as well as consumer protection.

The Indian Accreditation Board NABL operates the second largest Accreditation scheme in the world with more than 3000 labs accredited. The Institute of Quality of the Confederation of Indian Industry is deeply involved in development of policy initiatives with regard to standards and conformity assessment schemes in India, due to their increasing relevance to trade as well as consumer protection, and has been providing capacity building services to conformity assessment bodies in India and the South Asian Region to improve their services reliability and attain accreditation that is recognized globally.  

The Fifth conclave was held on the theme “Increasing Significance of Testing & Calibration in Global Supply Chain. This theme was chosen to emphasize on the strong linkage of a national  laboratory infrastructure with the stringent global regulatory requirements for products and increasing quality   expectations from in voluntary markets. As the foundation of all conformity assessment efforts lies in reliable testing and calibration practices, laboratories play a critical role in building the credibility of national quality infrastructure and trade potential.   

The Fifth conclave was deliberately timed to coincide with the holding of the joint General Meetings of international Accreditation Forum  (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) that were held in New Delhi to enable the participation of the visiting overseas experts in the Conclave deliberations.  The delegates benefitted immensely from the sharing of best practices and latest developments from the presence of the overseas experts.

For the first time, the National Physical Laboratory, which is the national metrological institute of India, participated in full measure as a Platinum sponsor and intensive participation of its senior scientists in the deliberation.

Mr Peter Unger, Chairman, ILAC in his key  note address spoke on the importance of Managing Integrity and Ethical practices in  Laboratory Services. He outlined  the detailed steps laboratory management need to take to ensure that not only ensures reliability of results from technical view point but also on the integration of ethical practices in the laboratory  management system that enhance confidence among clients and regulators.

Speaking in the inaugural session Dr R P Singh, Secretary General, Quality Council of India informed the important development of NABL moving under the umbrella of QCI following  a Cabinet decision of the Government of India. He said this development would significantly assist in consolidating the accreditation framework and services in India as all Accreditation Boards for conformity assessment 

would be able to work in harmony and bring in the synergies for the emergence of a sound and globally respected quality infrastructure in  India.

Dr V N Ojha, Chief Scientist, NPL made a detailed presentation of the significance of metrology in conformity assessment and in particular on the accuracy of generating reliable test and calibration results. He informed the key role played by NPL in ushering the International System of Units (SI ) in India that has helped India integrate its technical development with the rest of the world by ensuring traceability to international standards. India is a signatory to the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) drawn up by the International Committee of Weights and Measures (CIPM) that enables automatic recognition of national measurement standards and for calibration and measurement certificates issued by the member NMIs. Dr Ojha highlighted how correct measurement results have a deep impact on diverse uses such as diagnostic tests, safety of industrial workers, road safety, food safety.

Mr Anil Relia, Director, NABL traced  the different stages of evolution of conformity assessment in India and the world beginning from the late 1980s when testing and certification were required more to improve the quality of domestic products to the current emerging scenario, where regulations and international trade would be inconceivable without accredited conformity assessment. He expressed happiness on the National Conclave for Laboratories developing into a permanent signature event for  Laboratory professionals.

Mr Anupam Kaul informed regarding  the launch of the CII Laboratory Professional Certification Scheme and the certification of the first batch of CCLP Professionals in collaboration with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd in the Oils and Lubricants Sector. 5 Laboratory staff of HPCL were conferred with the CCLP Certificates during  the Conclave.

Mr Sean MacCurtain, Secretary, Conformity Assessment Committee, ISO informed on the development taking place on Standards for conformity assessment bodies and practices. In particular he highlighted the important changes in the key standard for Laboratories, ISO 17025 that is currently undergoing a revision after a gap of more than 10 years.  Mr Jeff Gust, Chief Metrologist, Fluke Corporation USA gave further details on the upcoming standard and the expected timelines by which it would be published.

Mr. Vu Xuan Thuy, Director, Bureau of Accreditation, Vietnam mentioned how the trade between India and Vietnam could significantly increase in the last 5 years due to confidence generated by the Conformity assessment programmes both countries have established.

In the Valedictory Session , Mr Rajeev Kher, Former Commerce Secretary, Govt of India and Member Competition Appellate Tribunal & Former Commerce Secretary, Govt of India spoke on how Government has recognized the significance of Standards and conformity assessment as necessary levers in in trade negotiations. He said it was time India came up with a formal regulatory regime to support a holistic framework of conformity assessment.

Dr G.N. Singh, Drugs Controller General of India mentioned about the challenges India was facing about 10 years ago in acceptance of its products and compliance assurance systems by thanks to the efforts of the scientific community and the policy makers, most of these have been overcome and  we are now recognized at par with the developed world.

The 2 day Conclave covered sessions on Role of testing and calibration services in meeting demands of global supply chains, Business growth sectors for laboratory services, Key global developments in metrology, testing, calibration, reference materials and PT programmes, New technologies in testing and calibration contributing to global value chain, Managing integrity and ethical management of laboratory services.

Some of the key speakers who addressed the conclave include

Mr. Raj Nathan, Senior Vice President, International Accreditation Service,USA; Ms Dana Leaman, Chief, NVLAP, National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA; Dr. S K Saxena, Director, Export Inspection Council of India, Dr. K.M. Chacko, Director, Shriram Institute of Industrial Research,  U K Nandwani, Director General, STQC, Dr. R. K. Kotnala, Chief Scientist, National Physical Laboratory, Mr N Kalyan, CEO, Elca Laboratories, Mr Saibal Mukhopadhyay, Country Manager, Canadian Standards Association, Mr U Thanu, Director General, National Test House, Ms Asha Nangia,  Senior Director, DEITY, , Dr. Anil Handoo, Senior Consultant, BLK Super Specialty Hospital, Dr. Sukesh Chandran Nair, Professor & Head, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Dr. Ms. Ranjana Mehrotra, Chief Scientist, National Physical Laboratory, Dr. M S Qureshi, National Chemical Laboratory.

A panel discussion on the Conclave  theme with Heads of Public and pivate sector organizations lead to the following Conclave recommendations:

  • In order to enhance the participation level of laboratories in accreditation programmes, a less prescriptive laboratory recognition model and a matching scheme  may be developed that can be quickly implemented that can be later expanded for subsequent accreditation
  • Laboratories should be accorded the status of a business sector and a support and development policy be formulated at the Government level. This policy needs to support the expansion of the laboratory segment to match with some of government’s own policy initiatives such as  food safety, environment protection etc. Another aspect is to promote the sector for testing of samples from overseas markets thereby increasing its competitiveness. Some of the other  aspects that need attention are the impediments in import of test and calibration equipment as well as samples for testing
  • Developing  a strong programme to raise the competence level of people working in the laboratories
  • Indian PT providers should explore overseas markets especially the middle east countries that offer huge market potential for such schemes
The Fifth National Laboratory Conclave witnessed the award of the First batch of Certificates for the CII Certified Laboratory Professional Scheme. Mr Rohit Kumar Gupta of HPCL receiving the Certificate from Mr Peter Unger, ILAC Chair


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