QCI was established as the National body for Accreditation on recommendations of Expert Mission of EU after consultations in Inter-ministerial task force, Committee of Secretaries and Group of Ministers in 1996. The Council came into existence in 1997 through a cabinet decision. It was created as an autonomous non-profit organization through seed associations, i.e. ASSOCHAM, CII and FICCI, to establish & operate National Accreditation structure. Accreditation facilitates trade, by way of establishing equivalence & global acceptance of certification, inspection and Testing being undertaken by various conformity assessment bodies, in the areas of Quality, Environment, Food Safety etc. This is accomplished by two of the board of QCI i.e. National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABL) for certification/inspection bodies and testing/calibration laboratories respectively.
As the scope of accreditation grew beyond the traditional boundaries of conformity assessment – into fields such as healthcare & education, QCI responded to this need by launching accreditation in these by areas by establishing the National Accreditation Board for Hospital & Healthcare Providers (NABH) and National Accreditation Board for Education and training (NABET). Like accreditation boards on conformity assessment, the boards for healthcare & education, have international linkages for global acceptance.
Other important task assigned to QCI has been to promote equality by (a) enabling manufactures and suppliers of goods/services to apply quality standards & tools and (b) empowering consumer to demand quality goods/services. The promotion of quality encompasses all segments including manufacturing, health, education & public services.
Mission of QCI is to make nationwide quality a reality. To achieve this mission, QCI need to play an integrating role such that institution exist to propagate quality in all dimension and apply it to all sectors. In fact most of the current quality initiatives are focussed on manufacturing sector and large gaps are in government, healthcare and education; a good balance therefore is required in the functioning of QCI. The experience of the manufacturing sector is valuable and need to be channelized into other sectors. Also, dimension such as research & publications need attention if quality is to be developed holistically.
In order to play the above role, QCI has been restructured to have active representation & participation from all sectors specific associations and bodies of quality professionals, beside the existing membership of government, apex industry federation & consumer organizations. National Board for Quality Promotion (NBQP) has been entrusted with the task of taking this forward and co-ordinating with all stake holders to promote quality in their respective areas of influence.
Apart from providing the quality infrastructure in the form of Accreditation Boards, QCI has been keen in improving quality amongst all the stakeholders. QCI has now been increasingly involved in advising stakeholders with solutions to aid improve their quality initiatives by designing of voluntary certification schemes, designing and delivery of customized capacity building programmes, making strategies for implementation and sensitizing a cross-section of stakeholders on the new developments on quality.
QCI has been working with international developmental organization such as FAO of the UN, for spreading the message of quality within and outside the country. QCI also helps in national interpretation of private standards a mechanism that helps the Indian stakeholder to meet international standards.