Indian regulatory & safety standards have always been sub-optimal as compared to West. And in the way events have unfolded over the last fortnight or so India's image as a globally competitive player has been seriously tarnished.
India had a triple blow of sorts in the last 15 days with three sectors facing scrutiny from regulatory bodies across the globe. One - The US civil aviation sector downgraded India's aviation safety. It meant that India's aviation sector lacks necessary safety mechanism. Second - Small cars of India failed the safety test of European standards. Lastly - India's drug major Ranbaxy faced a regulatory ban from US FDA for not adhering to the safety standards.
Lack of safety was the primary reason for downgrading India in all the three cases. Poor regulatory standards have led to declining safety measures. In fact, in a country like India, safety has always featured last in corporate offerings. Inadequate regulatory mechanism has further nurtured this thinking. Or else what could explain the fact that understaffing was the primary reason for safety lapses in both pharmaceutical and aviation sector of late. Weak regulatory oversight allowed the understaffing issue to prevail for long causing the safety standards to deteriorate.
The basic issue with Indian regulatory agencies is that not much emphasis is given to safety. Also, the regulations in it-self are not foolproof but evolving. Safety measure rarely features in their list. We believe it defeats the entire purpose of having regulations or regulatory bodies. The basic purpose of having such agencies is to protect consumers from financial or physical upheavals. And when regulators cannot protect consumers from such calamities, it is their failure.
Unless and until India's regulatory agencies pull up their socks and start considering safety and interest of the end consumers, instances of foreign bodies downgrading India's regulatory systems will prevail.