Steps to Promote Consumer Advocacy

Steps to Promote Consumer Advocacy

Question: Consumer advocacy seeks to empower citizens through awareness and education. Discuss the recent steps taken by the Department of Consumer Affairs for promoting consumer advocacy.

- Department of Consumer Affairs is aiming for consumer advocacy which seeks to empower customers through awareness and education

- Efforts are on to enhance consumer protection through unfair trade practices, quality assurance and safety through standards and their conformity

- The DCA also emphasised reasonably priced, effective grievance redressal mechanism

- DCA has also been focusing on key areas impacting consumers namely agriculture, food, housing, healthcare, transport, financial services and education.

In partnership with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority and RBI, campaigns has been launched to address issues affecting consumers such as the following:

- Food adulteration,

- Food safety,

- Quality assurance,

- Misleading ads

- Unfair trade practices

- Asymmetry in market information, market deterritorialisation and massive growth of ad campaigns have impacted consumer advocacy

- Inter Ministerial Group on consumer advocacy has been established chaired by the DCA secretary

- Quality assurance and safety are facilitated by stringent standards laid down by BIS, National Standards Body of India

- ISI mark of BIS denotes quality and safety apart from developing over 19000 quality standards and 28,000 licensees who use ISI quality mark while manufacturing products

- BIS Bill 2015 seeks to strengthen the quality assurance scheme and catalyse the zero defect zero effect approach under Make in India

- BIS Trade Facilitation Cell has also been opened to facilitate trade with other nations

Grahak Suvidha Kendras have been launched for providing the following services:

- Information dissemination,

- Counselling,

- Grievance redress,

- Mediation,

- Class action,

- Product testing,

- Capacity building and training

- Mobilising popular support to the consumer movement.

- A dedicated GAMA (Grievances Against Misleading Ads) portal has also been opened by DCA in partnership with Advertising Standards Council of India in tacking misleading ads via the portal

Consumer Protection Bill 2015 has also been introduced in the LS to enable mediation as alternate dispute resolution arrangement and formation of a Central Consumer Protection Authority to undertake the following:

- Investigate unfair trade practices;

- Initiate class action in appropriate cases;

- Order refund, recall or replacement of defective products; and withdrawal of misleading advertisements

- Carrying out of corrective/compensatory advertisements.

- Product Liability class of bill will enable suing for damages caused by injuries induced by defects in products or services

- Online monitoring of cases through CONFONET’s linking with consumer fora is also a positive step forward

Facts and Stats

Cases filed since inception, cases disposed of, pending cases and percent of total cases disposed by :

- National Commission:





- State Commission:





- District Forums:



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