New Delhi, Dec 20: Recognising that consumer awareness and education programme play a pivotal role in protecting consumers, 'Jago Grahak Jago' campaign by the Government will be intensified in coming months.
Celebrating the National Consumer Day here today, Consumer Affairs Department Secretary Yashwant Bhave, said the enactment of Consumer Protection Act on 24 December, 1986 had proved to be a milestone in consumer movement, and all stakeholders should take a pledge on this day to protect the interest of consumers.
Mr Bhave exuded confidence that an aware and enlightened consumer could play a crucial role in enabling the transition to a knowledge based society. He highlighted that a 3-tier structure comprising legal framework, Standards and consumer redressal is paramount for protecting the interest of the consumer.
Giving an example regarding purchase of gold, the Secretary observed that about 18 to 39 per cent samples of gold were found to be of lower Caratage which roughly translates into an annual lose of 7,500 crore to consumers.
To protect the interest of the consumers, the Government had started the hallmarking scheme and would be expanding it further in the coming months, he said.
Mr Bhave also highlighted that other issues concerning the interest of the consumers such as MRP, Labeling, Standardisation etc were being taken up by the Department through its consumer awareness publicity campaign.
He also praised the efficacy of consumer forums and pointed out that out of 28 lakh complaints received by the consumer fora till now, more than 25 lakh cases had been disposed off.
Delivering the keynote address, Mr S Joe Bhatia, President and CEO of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) emphasised the importance of framing standards to protect consumer interest.
Citing the example of the concerns raised regarding toy safety in America, Mr Bhatia said ANSI was playing the role of a facilitator for the industry to adopt voluntary standards so that consumers could get products with well-defined quality standards.
He pointed out that the industry should come forward and adopt voluntary standards which were quick to respond and flexible.
Earlier, Ms Alka Sirohi, Additional Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs highlighted various measures being taken by the Government for consumers protection.
She said the computerisation of consumer forum network was being undertaken and soon consumers would have the facility of online registration of complaints.
Ms Sirohi also pointed out that amendment to Consumer Protection Act to ensure disposal of cases in a specific timeframe was being envisaged.
On the occasion, Monographs on various issues concerning 'Consumer Protection' were also released. The monographs in Hindi were brought out jointly by Indian Institute of Public Administration and the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India.