2-day Regional Conference on Consumer Affairs begins at SKICC

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Govt to bring new legislation to curb consumer fleecing

SRINAGAR: Stressing on protecting the rights of consumers, the Minister of Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution and Tribal Affairs, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, Friday said the government of India is mulling new legislation to deal with the issue of consumer fleecing.   

“The government is going to introduce a new legislation which will have far-reaching impact on recalling faulty or fake products, product liability, mediation and testing. Consumers are one of the most important resources and it is the duty of the government to guarantee their welfare and protect their rights,” Mr Zulfkar said.    

“The existing regulatory laws, acts, rules and orders need to be implemented properly and appropriate authorities at all levels need to be designated,” he added.

The Minister was speaking at the two-day Regional Consultative meeting of Northern States and Union Territories on Consumer Affairs which began at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre here on Friday.

The conference is being attended by representatives from various states led by CV Vishwanath, Secretary to Government of India, Department of Consumer Affairs, State Secretaries (Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution), Director Legal Metrology along with other dignitaries.  

The CA&PD Minister noted that there are various subject matters involved in consumer affairs like transport, medicare, education, most of which are privatized that has resulted in lack of accountability.  

“The government must protect the interests of consumers here and give due attention to the problems faced by them. I hope these issues are deliberated in this conference and we arrive at meaningful and logical conclusions to protect the interest of consumers which is the basis of a welfare state,” he said.

Mr Zulfkar said the Government of India is also planning to increase the items listed for Hallmark standardisation and in the next three months, a national helpline will be set up to deal with the issues faced by the consumers.   

“So far, only 122 items, like water and gold, are listed under mandatory standardisation. But the new legislation will extend the scope of products which will help the consumers in making proper choices while making purchases in the markets,” Zulfkar said.   

He said the CA&PD department must increase the level of awareness among the consumers about their rights to complaint against faulty of fake products, “It is only after consumer awareness arises that the sellers and produced would be forced to introduce quality products in the market, thereby leading to better economy and growth,” the Minister said.

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