EQUALITY INDIA NEWS / SHAKTI VAHINI RESEARCH INITIATIVE
The impact of Consumer Protection Act is now perceptible in the operations of providers of goods and services. This was stated by Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution while inaugurating the National Consumer Day function here today.
The Minister said “In the Government and Public Sector we now see several Regulators, Ombudsman and grievance redressal mechanism in place, we can also discern the operation of consumer grievance redressal system in the private sector. This, to my view, is due to the proactive approach adopted in the Consumer Protection Act, by bringing the consumer rights in the forefront.”
Prof. Thomas said, “In India it is not the legislative measures that are lacking in providing the consumer with the mechanism or the enabling environment for protecting their rights. The challenge is in the strengthening of the administrative mechanism in implementing such measures. This can be achieved by striking a balance between the health of the economy and that of the consumers.” He said, the responsibility lies on the stakeholders, in particular the government and VCOs to crate awareness about the existence of the redressal mechanism and laws protecting consumer interests. This will not only empower the consumers, but also smoothen the process of policy implementation, the Minister stressed.
On the consumer responsibility which is this year’s theme of National Consumer Day, The Minister said that introduction of consumer responsibility should have a salutary impact on the growing market economy in India as well as on its environment. Prof. Thomas asked the higher income groups to work towards environment protection as they are in a good position to influence the other sections of the population.
Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Shri Rajiv Agarwal in his address stressed on the need for concerted efforts by all the stakeholders for educating the consumers. He said, Government has taken up a number of activities and schemes for creating consumer awareness in the country. The ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ slogan is now well known for informing the common man of his rights as consumer.
President, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Mr. Justice Ashok Bhan, in his key note address, said that it is possible to bring down the pendency of consumer dispute cases to zero level if proper infrastructure and logistical support is provided to dispute redressal machinery.