The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the national body that frames quality norms for products and services and works under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, has set standards for the drinking water but are voluntary in nature.
The Centre will soon start consultation process to make mandatory compliance of the BIS quality standard for tap water to begin with in the national capital, state capitals and 100 smart cities, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Thursday. The Delhi government and Jal Board authorities have no reservations on making the BIS standard mandatory for tap water, he said. A preliminary investigation of tap water samples collected randomly from 11 areas in the national capital has showed that water did not conform with the BIS standard and was not safe for drinking, he added.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the national body that frames quality norms for products and services and works under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, has set standards for the drinking water but are voluntary in nature. “After looking at the preliminary report of tap water supplied in Delhi, we are thinking of making mandatory the BIS standards on tap water at least in the national capital, state capitals and 100 smart cities,” Paswan told reporters.
The stakeholders’ views will be taken on the issue. A letter will be issued to the state governments seeking their views on the matter, he said. Already, a BIS team has been sent to the state capitals to collect the samples of tap water and test if they comply with the BIS quality standard, he said.
“This will take a month. The report will come by November first week. We will get to know which state supplies safe drinking water at least in the capital city. The ranking will be given,” the minister added.
With regard to quality of tap water in Delhi, Paswan said the preliminary investigation shows that samples collected randomly from 11 areas in the national capital do not comply with the BIS standard and not safe for drinking.
“We have received second lab report. We will share in detail about the samples after we get the final lab report,” he said adding that the samples include water collected from his house (10, Janpath) and the office in Krishi Bhawan.
The lab report was discussed in a meeting with senior officials of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), BIS, Union Jal Shakti and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), he said.
“In the meeting, DJB officials informed that they don’t have any reservation if BIS standard on piped water is made mandatory. They said have infrastructure to supply quality water,” Paswan said.
After seeking views of the stakeholders, the Centre will figure out the way to make the BIS standard mandatory. “It cannot be done across the country at one go, we will go step by step,” he added.
Paswan also mentioned that India’s BIS standard on tap water is not at par with the international standard and directed the BIS officials to study if it can match the global quality norms.
Currently, the BIS quality standards are mandatory for only packed drinking water and 140-odd other products. The Centre can make it mandatory for any product or service keeping in view health of the larger public of the country.
Besides state governments, the views of the concerned Union ministries — Health, Jal Shakti and Urban Development — have to be taken for making BIS standard mandatory for tap water.