New organisation to focus on capacity building and sharing international best practice
Figures from India’s chemicals and business sectors formally launched the Regulatory Representatives and Managers Association in New Delhi on 12 October. The new association aims to boost the number of regulatory professionals in the country and provide compliance support.
The not-for-profit organisation is the brainchild of Global Product Compliance (GPC) executive director, Shisher Kumra, former CEO of the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (Quality Council of India), Anil Jauhri, and senior advisor to the Confederation of Indian Industry, Anupam Kaul.
Together with a number of former industry leaders, the group make up the RRMA Governing Council, the organisation’s primary advisory body. The Council invited Geert Dancet, founding executive director of the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) and secretary general of the Helsinki Chemicals Forum, to be the body’s chair.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Dancet said RRMA’s overall aim is to “enhance dramatically” the number of regulatory professionals in India. The goal is to provide RRMA-trained professionals as company employees or service providers to help business achieve “effective compliance, minimising regulatory risks and associated costs”, he said.
Speaking to Chemical Watch, he said the need for regulatory information and training in India was “enormous”, especially for SMEs.
“Indian companies must comply with many new international REACH-like regulations, while companies exporting to India have relatively few requirements in the form of already published standards for a limited number of very hazardous chemicals,” he said at the gathering, adding that India’s standing as the world’s sixth largest chemical production market justifies regulatory development.
Chief guest at the event, chemicals secretary for the Ministry of Chemicals, Arun Baroka, welcomed the RRMA initiative, but said there was a need to avoid a heavy regulatory burden, particularly on SMEs, and to protect the ease of doing business with India.
Speaking to Chemical Watch after the event, Mr Kumra said: “Industry professionals have been interested in an organisation like this for a long time. India has no formal academic programmes for regulatory professionals and we are frequently contacted by industry for recommendations.”
Addressing the role of RRMA in convincing industry to support enhanced regulations, Dr Vaibhav Diwan, GPC’s global business development manager, said competitive benefits of regulation would be emphasised, along with obligations.
“The RRMA has a three-point strategy: outreach (training and knowledge sharing); answering industry concerns; and representing industry concerns to the authorities,” he said.
In 2023, the RRMA will also host the Asian Chemicals Forum. The bi-annual event will be co-organised by GPC and the Helsinki Chemicals Forum. Hot topics selected by Indian industry will be discussed with Asia’s regional players, academic experts, and NGOs, along with international groups such as the OECD and Echa. A conclusion report would be submitted to the chemicals group of the G20 meeting held annually in October or November.
The RRMA’s future plans include:
• establishing a permanent office space in New Delhi and a live industry helpdesk;
• running masterclasses on national and international regulations and sustainability;
• formal e-learning programmes, benchmarking European training courses;
• a chartered regulatory professional programme to deliver certified professionals (to be developed in 2023); • a student internship programme;
• a members only interactive platform, live conferences, and webinars; and
• an annual assembly every September where member working groups for each chemical segment will track specific regulations; annual reports and RRMA forward planning will be drafted and approved.
*Source: Chemical Watch