Consumer Affairs Ministry signs MoUs with industry bodies to promote consumer welfare

Consumer Affairs Ministry signs MoUs with industry bodies to promote consumer welfare

Self regulatory code for industry to protect consumer interests

Department of Consumer Affairs today signed MoUs with the Industry bodies to promote consumer interests. The MoUs broadly covers the collaborative programmes on developing and implementing a self-regulatory code of fair business practices. Establishing a Consumer Affairs division/vertical within the Industry Body, initiating advocacy action against unfair trade practices and preventing fake, counterfeit and sub-standard products and services and adoption of voluntary standards by Industry members have been agreed upon in MoUs. Earmarking of CSR funds for consumer awareness and protection activities, partnering with the National Consumer Helpline and State Consumer Helplines for grievance redressal; launching joint consumer awareness, education and training programmes will also be taken up by the industry as per MoUs signed today. A Joint Working Group will monitor the implementation of agenda.

MoUs were signed here today in the presence of Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan during the celebration of the World Consumer Rights Day organised by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

A self-regulatory Code of ethical business conduct released on the occasion by Shri Paswan, covers six broad principles to be adopted by the Industry on safety of products and services, building sustainable supply chains, marketing products ethically, non-indulgence in unfair trade practices, complying with competition and anti-trust laws & prompt response to consumer complaints. Government, Industry and Voluntary Consumer Organizations will work to popularize the code amongst industry and business and ensure that it is increasingly adhered to.

. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Paswan termed the year 2016 as being historical for consumer protection as the Government is set to re-create the Consumer Protection Act. He said, the Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, already introduced in Parliament, is wide and seeks to remove the existing bottlenecks in regulation to prevent unfair trade practices. Specifically, a Central Consumer Protection Authority is proposed to be created to effectively deal with unfair trade practices and order recall of products and impose fines. The existing network of consumer commissions will also be strengthened to ensure speedy disposal of the cases. These provisions will have far reaching implications and would further improve the performance of the functioning of the machinery in protecting the interests of consumers.

Shri Paswan said the recently passed BIS Bill is another major step to promote consumer welfare as it would introduce a culture of quality assurance in products and services through the enforcement of mandatory /voluntary compliance with Indian Standards through conformity assessment schemes.

The Minister also announced de-materializing of warranties whereby the consumers need not keep the documents related to warrantees and guarantees in physical forms. The industry will henceforth maintain the stock of warranties on behalf of each and every consumer in digital format.

. The Minister added that no business can sustain its growth unless the consumers are satisfied. Realizing the importance of working together with all the stakeholders to further the interests of consumers as well as the Industry, Department of Consumer Affairs has initiated a Government-Industry partnership on consumer advocacy in the area of redress of consumer grievances, enhancement of consumer awareness and protection and action against misleading advertisements and fake and counterfeit products.

. . The event was presided over by the Minister and attended by Members from Industry and Voluntary Consumer Organizations. Justice V.B. Gupta, Member, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission delivered the key note address. Shri Saryu Rai, Consumer & Food Minister, Jharkhand, Shri G.S. Bali, Consumer & Food Minister, Himachal Pradesh, Shri Lakshmikant Nishad, Consumer & Food Minister, Uttar Pradesh also participated in the function besides representatives from States

The World Consumer Rights Day is an annual occasion for celebration of and reinforcing the solidarity among stakeholders of the international consumer movement. The World Consumer Rights Day is an opportunity to promote and protect the basic rights of consumers. This year’s theme for the World Consumer Rights Day is “antibiotics off the menu.” The consumer movement has been increasingly vocal on the topic of overuse of antibiotics in farming, according to them it leads to emergence of drug resistant bacteria. 

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