Sunday, November 21, 2010

“Quality is a lifetime Mission ”

President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam has always led from the front. At the Second National Quality Conclave, he gave a seven-point charter to put India on the list of developed countries by 2020.
My definition of national prosperity index is equal to GDP, including Quality of life for all coupled with value system. It is essential to ensure that all the citizens are empowered with good Quality of life...T was a historic moment when Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, inaugurated 2nd National Quality Conclave, organized by Quality Council of India, at Hotel Ashok, New Delhi , on 9 February 2007 . It was a dream come true for all Quality professionals, who always wished it was time Quality be talked as a national issue. It was a pleasant moment for all of us to listen to the President, linking Quality to all walks of life. It is going to be a challenge for all of us to translate the charter into action points and implement the same.
Excerpts from the President's address:
“ …I am delighted to participate in the inauguration of the Quality Conclave – Vision 2020 for Quality India , organised by the Quality Council of India . My greetings to the award winners, organisers, policy makers, industry captains, entrepreneurs, educationists, Quality specialists, consumers and students participating in this Quality Conclave. As you are aware, India is in the mission of bringing prosperity and smiles to the one billion-plus people of the country, particularly uplifting and improving the Quality of life of 220 million people who are at present living below poverty line. While the Indian GDP is growing at over eight per cent per annum, we need full participation of the people for achieving the required targets of our growth and realising high national prosperity index. My definition of national prosperity index is equal to GDP, including Quality of life for all coupled with value system. It is essential to ensure that all the citizens are empowered with good Quality of life encompassing nutritious food, good habitat, clean environment, affordable healthcare, Quality education with value systemand productive employment leading to the comprehensive qualitative development of the nation. Even though you cannot take up all aspects together, you take two or three issues which will make difference to the life of people. In this context, I Would like to talk to you on the topic.

The Mission of QCI: The National Well Being

Contribution of QCI   “I am glad to note that the mission of Quality Conclave – Vision 2020 is “to help India achieve and sustain total Quality and reliability in all areas of life, work, environment, product and services at individual, community and social levels”. I studied some of the recommendations of the first conclave on Quality which has addressed the problem pertaining to the improvement of Quality systems in SMEs, accreditation of hospital management, enhancement of Quality programmes in medical and engineering education and creating a quantitative and qualitative measure of evaluation of services. I am sure QCI will interact with the government concerned, industries and institutions and assist them in implementing these recommendations in a time bound manner.”
The President spoke at length, giving his personal experience with Quality initiatives, in high technology areas, i.e., Design & Development of Satellite Launch Vehicles and Light Combat Aircraft programmes. He advised QCI to take learning from these programmes. Excerpts from the address are:
“…QCI may like to visit establishments like DRDO, ISRO, HAL which have established not only the methodology for the design, development, testing and production but also the documentation of the systems at each stage. Without proper documents neither a design review will take place nor will a flight review take place. The Quality Council of India (QCI) has to study these organisations and evolve a proven Quality and reliability model for applications.
“QCI may like to study all these systems and evolve Indian Quality assurance standards for design, development and production of various types of goods and services needed by the country and for its export. Evolution of accreditation doctrine and eligibility criteria for selection has to be based on experience and track record of the institution.”
The President highlighted the need for Quality in agriculture and food processing. He mentioned that “…farming is one area which can benefit substantially through Quality system support”. He mentioned that “most important action is to enable farmers to get Quality seeds, Quality fertilisers and Quality pesticides from cooperative societies.”
The President laid great emphasis on Quality in education . He referred to the recent initiatives of NCERT in formulation of National Curriculum Framework – 2005. The President suggested that QCI could work out accreditation policy for schools. 
QCI can also study and recommend guidelines for certifying the Quality of teachers needed by our education system, particularly in the rural areas.

“ …QCI can also study and recommend guidelines for certifying the Quality of teachers needed by our education system, particularly in the rural areas. QCI can also suggest an accreditation policy for all primary and secondary schools particularly run by the government with respect to status of infrastructure, the availability of affordable Quality textbooks, extension of technology for capacity building, training and continuing education of teachers, appropriate assessment and evaluation system and proper conduct of examinations. The logistic facilities in schools should create proper hygienic environment to the students and they should be encouraged to develop Quality consciousness in dealing with garbage, maintenance and upkeep of the environment and safety and security of the children.” President mentioned that there was urgent need for Quality in primary healthcare.

…Primary Healthcare
“When I visit rural areas of the nation, I find that there is an urgent need for improvements in the Primary Health Centres (PHC) particularly in remote areas with properly maintained infrastructure, doctors, paramedical staff, supporting staff and cost effective medicines. One of the important tasks QCI can undertake is to ensure that spurious drugs are not injected into the market. Of course, they have to take the assistance of pharma companies, doctors, paramedical personnel, chemists and druggists and the consumer in this important mission. PHCs should also have modern means of connectivity through telemedicine with district and multi specialist hospitals. The emergency systems in the primary healthcare centre should always be in a state of readiness and with ambulance facilities to reach the needy to specialised centres as required. QCI should bring out a directory of various primary health centres in six hundred districts of the country with the help of state governments and NGOs and provide guidelines for Quality improvements in human resource, hospital infrastructure, training and availability of Quality medicines. I have suggested the medical colleges and corporate sectors to adopt the PHCs in their neighbourhood of 100 km and provide support with the help of medical students and faculty.”The President highlighted the need for Quality in infrastructure, i.e., highways, transportation system, such as airports, railways, bus and seaports. He suggested that “…QCI may consider designing and implementing a mechanism through which total Quality consciousness can be brought about among the persons who provide these services to the community. One of the methods by which Quality can be improved is through the feedback from the consumers.” 

Feedback on Quality of services

“Though India is known to be one of the best destinations for outsourcing of many of the service and knowledge products, within our society we are yet to grow to appreciate and pay for the services. However, developed nations are gauged by the Quality of service the citizens get from the government and from the corporates with which they do business. One mechanism by which we can continuously increase the Quality of service is through feedback. This should be done by everyone without fear or bias. This feedback will enable all service providers to constantly improve the Quality of service irrespective of what the service is. We will see a substantial increase in the services such as electricity, water, telephone, gas, transportation, education, insurance, banking, legal and police. The service providers, whether they are in Government or in private sector, have to take the feedback in the right spirit and provide customer satisfaction both in the short term and in the long term. Customers should also acknowledge positive developments and celebrate improvements. This scenario should lead to the pride of service and competitiveness.
“QCI must work with different agencies to streamline the system existing for feedback and promoting its utilisation for continuous improvement of the system.” 

Conclusion: Missions for Quality Council of India

“There is a strong urge in our society to come out of century old “Developing Country” brand name to “Developed Country” status. To become a developed country, we must have competitive edge in the international market. Quality is very essential to achieve this. We must use competition as an opportunity to improve our Quality and totransform from a technology importer to technology exporter.
“Since I am in the midst of Quality specialists from the industry, business and government, I have the following suggestions:
  • QCI may consider bringing out certain benchmarks for our schools and primary care centres and development of a rating system, which should be developed in consultation with academicians, parents, administrators and students and published on the website. QCI should facilitate our schools, colleges and universities to develop employable skills among our youth.
  • Websites of government and corporate sector should be visited by the specialistsof Quality Council of India and feedback given about the Quality of the content, maintenance and the updation status.
  • QCI may consider facilitating the customers and citizens for evaluating the services and providing objective periodic feedback for the improvement of services.
  • QCI may consider evolution of an independent evaluation system for efficacy of e governance system established by the different agencies .
  • QCI may bring out a master plan for Quality assurance encompassing all aspects of developed India 2020 vision with recommendations for all the functionaries who are responsible for provision of products and services. Particularly the QCI counselling will be valuable to sarpanches and district authorities.
  • QCI may consider creation of Quality systems for the unorganised rural sector for farming, craftsmanship and rural cottage industries, which can be propagated through the local elected representatives.
  • QCI may bring out case studies of successful QCI interventions specifying productivity increase, revenue enhancement and sustainability of the product. This information must be widely circulated to all the constituents in multiple Indian languages.
“In essence, QCI must become an organization serving the one billion people of the country. With these words, I inaugurate the Quality Conclave – Vision 2020 for Quality India . My best wishes to all the participants of the Conclave for success in their mission of promoting prosperity through Quality.
May God bless you.” 

Though India is known to be one of the best destinations for outsourcing many products, within our society we are yet to appreciate and pay for these services.

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