Weights and Measures
Uniform standards of weights and measures, based on the metric system, were established in the country, under the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1956.In order to establish the international system of units and to align Indian laws with international practices as well as to remove certain deficiencies, a comprehensive legislation, namely, the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 was enacted, replacing the 1956 Act. The 1976 Act contains among other things, provisions for regulation of pre acked commodities sold to consumers so as to establish fair trading practices. Provisions of the Act relating to packaged commodities and the relevant rules, namely, the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977 were brought into force, since September 1977. According to these provisions every package intended for retail sale is required to carry information as regards the name of the commodity, name and address of manufacturer or packer, net quantity, month and year of manufacture/packing and retail price. Mandatory declaration of retail sale price is inclusive of all taxes. The Rules also have similar provisions for regulation of packaged commodities imported into India.
Under the provisions of the 1976 Act, the models of all weighing and measuring instruments should be approved before commencement of their production. Under the relevant rules, namely, the Standards of Weights and Measures (Approval of Models) Rules 1987 recognised laboratories examine the models for their conformity to the standards.
The forty-second Amendment of the Constitution brought the subject of 'Enforcement of Weights and Measures' from the 'State List' to the 'Concurrent List'. To ensure uniformity in the matter of enforcement in the Country, a Central Act, namely, the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985 was brought into force. It contains provisions for effective legal control on weights, measures and weighing/measuring instruments used in commercial transaction, industrial production and in protection involving public health and safety.
India is a member of the International Organisation of Legal Metrology. This Organisation was set up in order to realise worldwide uniformity in laws relating to legal metrology (weights and measures) and to make international trade smooth and practical.
Legal standards of weights and measures of the States and Union Territories are calibrated in the four Regional Reference Standard Laboratories (RRSL) located at Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Bangalore and Faridabad. These laboratories also provide calibration services to the industries in their respective regions and are among the recognized laboratories for conducting the model approval tests on weights and measuring instruments. The scheme for establishing a permanent premise for RRSL, Guwahati to cater to the needs of North-Eastern States, commenced in the Ninth Plan and is underway.
The Indian Institute of Legal Metrology, Ranchi, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution imparts training in legal metrology and allied subjects. Apart from the enforcement officials of States, nominees from African, Asian and Latin American countries also attend the programme run by the Institute. The Institute has also recently started imparting training to the non-judicial members of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies of the states.