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"The customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption on our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider on our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so."

- MAHATMA GANDHI

A Consumer awareness programm from Department of consumer affairs. Know your rights.

Who and what is a CONSUMER?
The definition in the dictionary refers to an individual who buys products or services for personal use and not for manufacture or resale as a consumer.
In the present scenario a consumer is a person engaged in evaluating, acquiring, and using goods and services to satisfy his needs and wants. A consumer is a key figure in the market and all activities are carried on around this person.

The old close relation between production and consumption has changed now. Consumers now depend on a complex industrial system to satisfy their wants. Goods and services have multiplied and become more complicated, making it difficult to choose wisely among them.

What is CONSUMERISM?
The first and basic explanation is the protection or promotion of the interests of consumers. On the other hand its derogatory reference is to the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods.

One could also consider the movement by consumers to ensure fair and ethical practices on the part of service providers in relation to consumers as an act of consumerism.
Historically:

There are various rights and responsibilities of consumers. The United Nation (UN) had framed guidelines for consumer protection. The draft UN guidelines were discussed at great length from the 1960s onwards before finally being adopted in 1985. The guidelines were expanded in 1999 with issues of sustainable consumption and were re-adopted in the UN General Assembly decision 54/449. 2010 that marked the 25th year of the adoption of the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection. 

How to be a Smart Consumer?
The market place offers a bewildering variety of choices and there is no single right answer.
When you go shopping it is helpful to recognize that the retailer has a head start on you. He/she knows how much the item costs from the supplier, how much profit is included in the asking price and the minimum price that they are willing to sell the product for. You walk into the shop and all you know is the asking price. You are definitely at a disadvantage! Therefore to make a right choice, you should-

  • Be Informed
  • Be Economical
  • Evaluate your needs
  • Assess personal and environmental safety.

It is also important to realise that any choice you make will be predetermined to a certain extent by the following factors:

  • Peer pressure
  • Advertisement and media
  • Loan availability and pressure from finance companies
However, if you are aware of this, then you will be able to concentrate on more positive factors when making a choice.

Who and what is a CONSUMER?
The definition in the dictionary refers to an individual who buys products or services for personal use and not for manufacture or resale as a consumer.
In the present scenario a consumer is a person engaged in evaluating, acquiring, and using goods and services to satisfy his needs and wants. A consumer is a key figure in the market and all activities are carried on around this person.

The old close relation between production and consumption has changed now. Consumers now depend on a complex industrial system to satisfy their wants. Goods and services have multiplied and become more complicated, making it difficult to choose wisely among them.

Consumer is the real deciding factor for all economic activities. It is now universally accepted that the extent of consumer protection is a true indicator of the level of progress in a nation. The growing size and complexity of production and distribution systems, the high level of sophistication in marketing and selling practices and forms of promotion like advertising, etc. have contributed to the increased need for consumer protection.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986(External website that opens in a new window) is the most important legislation enacted to provide for effective safeguards to consumers against various types of exploitations and unfair dealings. This Act was amended in 2002 in the form of Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act, 2002(External website that opens in a new window) with some important inclusions.

What are consumer responsibilities?
Every right has a corresponding responsibility. While rights are legally mandated, responsibilities should be voluntarily adopted and followed by concern citizens.

Govt. of INDIA Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution is a government ministry of India. The Ministry is headed by a minister of Cabinet rank. The current Minister Cabinet Rank is Sh. Ram Vilas Paswan.
The ministry is divided into two departments, the Department of Food and Public Distribution and the Department of Consumer Affairs .
Department of Food and Public Distribution
The objectives of the Department are to ensure

  • The remunerative rates for the farmers
  • Supply of food grains at reasonable prices to the consumers through the public distribution system.

Public Distribution System
The Indian Public Distribution System (PDS) is a national food security system that distributed subsidised food to India's poor. Major commodities distributed include wheat, rice, sugar, and kerosene. Surpluses of food from increased crop yields (as a result of the Green Revolution and good monsoon seasons) are managed by the Food Corporation of India, established by the Food Corporation Act 1964, implements national policy for farm price support, operations, procurement, storage, preservation, inter-state movement and distribution operations. PDS has a network of about 478,000 Fair Price Shops (FPS), perhaps the largest distribution network of its type in the world, operated by the Union Government and statefo governments.
Department of Consumer Affairs
The Department of Consumer affairs administers the policies for Consumer Cooperatives, Monitoring Prices, availability of essential commodities, Consumer Movement in the country and Controlling of statutory bodies like Bureau of Indian Standards(BIS) and Weights and Measures.
The department is responsible for following
•             National Test House
•             Standards of Weights and Measures
•             The Bureau of Indian Standards
•             Consumer Cooperatives
•             Forward Markets Commission, Mumbai.
•             Monitoring of Prices and Availability of essential commodities
•             The Consumer Protection Act, 1986
•             Consumer Welfare Fund
•             Internal Trade
•             Inter-State Trade: The Spirituous Preparations (Inter-State Trade and Commerce) Control Act, 1955 (39 of 1955).
•             Control of Futures Trading: the Forward Contracts (Regulations) Act, 1952 (74 of 1952).
The department of that are considered essential,regulates the availability and takes measures thereof along with prescribing measures to see that the whole system works towards the food security of vulnerable a lot of motivation,provided waves of zeal to owners of shops to make them into mini mall type structures that could perforce supply the maximum choice of goods&services to population to be reached including beneficiaries in their allotted areas.This has also given them more of dignity,accountability,visibility, positive orientation and changed mind set to do well,improve upon their perceived image as one who indulged in diversion,pilferage or leakages that rocked from within, just for his own ends only. This precisely had been the guiding factor to go for a systemic change in the scope of activity &goods handling,that has been liked by other states and also drawn the attention of a set of young MPs who had been given a presentation on the same.
Organisations
The Public Sector Undertaking (PSU)s under the administrative control of Dept. of Public Distribution are:
Food Corporation of India (FCI)
Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC)

 

Protection of Consumers Rights,
- Right to choose,
- Right to be Heard,
- Right to seek Redressal,
- Right to Consumer Education
- Right to SAFETY,
- Right to be Informed
 

 

Consumer Rights / Responsibility

Right to Safety
Means right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services, which are hazardous to life and property. The purchased goods and services availed of should not only meet their immediate needs, but also fulfil long term interests.

Before purchasing, consumers should insist on the quality of the products as well as on the guarantee of the products and services. They should preferably purchase quality marked products such as ISI,AGMARK, etc

Right to be Informed
Means right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices.

Consumer should insist on getting all the information about the product or service before making a choice or a decision. This will enable him to act wisely and responsibly and also enable him to desist from falling prey to high pressure selling techniques.

Right to Choose
Means right to be assured, wherever possible of access to variety of goods and services at competitive price. In case of monopolies, it means right to be assured of satisfactory quality and service at a fair price. It also includes right to basic goods and services. This is because unrestricted right of the minority to choose can mean a denial for the majority of its fair share. This right can be better exercised in a competitive market where a variety of goods are available at competitive prices.

Right to be Heard
Means that consumer's interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. It also includes right to be represented in various forums formed to consider the consumer's welfare.

The Consumers should form non-political and non-commercial consumer organizations which can be given representation in various committees formed by the Government and other bodies in matters relating to consumers.

Right to Seek redressal
Means right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. It also includes right to fair settlement of the genuine grievances of the consumer.

Consumers must make complaint for their genuine grievances.Many a times their complaint may be of small value but its impact on the society as a whole may be very large. They can also take the help of consumer organisations in seeking redressal of their grievances.

Right to Consumer Education
Means the right to acquire the knowledge and skill to be an informed consumer throughout life.Ignorance of consumers, particularly of rural consumers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. They should know their rights and must exercise them. Only then real consumer protection can be achieved with success.

   

RELATED LINKS

- Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution
- Consumer Online Resource & Empowerment Centre)
- National Consumer Helpline (NCH)
- Centre for Consumer Studies (CCS)
- Computerisation of Consumer Fora (CONFONET)
- Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS)
- Forward Markets Commission (FMC)
- National Consumer Co-operative Federation (NCCF
- National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)(
- National Test House (NTH)
- Food  Safety and StandardsAuthority of India (FSSAI)
 
 
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