To mark National Consumer Day in the capital, the government announced that it would intensify the consumer awareness campaign ‘Jago Grahak Jago’.
Commemorating the occasion, Yashwant Bhave, secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, said that enactment of Consumer Protection Act in 1986 has proved to be a milestone in consumer movement and on this day, all stakeholders should take a pledge to protect the interests of consumers.
Bhave said that an aware and enlightened consumer can play a crucial role in enabling the transition to a knowledge-based society. He added that a three-tier structure comprising legal framework, standards and consumer redress is paramount for protecting the interests of consumers.
Giving the example of gold purchase, Bhave observed that about 18 to 39 per cent samples of gold were found to be of lower carat than claimed, leading to an estimated annual loss of Rs 7,500 crore.
In view of this, the government will expand the hallmarking scheme in the coming months, he said.
Other issues concerning the interests of the consumers such as MRP, labelling and standardisation, are being highlighted by the department through its consumer awareness publicity campaign.
Appreciating the efficacy of consumer forums, Bhave pointed out that out of 28 lakh complaints received, over 25 lakh cases have been disposed off.
Delivering the keynote address, S Joe Bhatia, president and CEO, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), emphasised the importance of framing standards to protect consumer interests.
Giving the example of toy safety concerns in America, Bhatia said that ANSI is playing the role of a facilitator for the industry to adopt voluntary standards, so that consumers can get products with well-defined quality standards. He urged the industry to come forward and adopt voluntary standards.