(IGP) Special Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre) 2013 - PIB "Topic : 'Jago Grahak Jago' – An Initiative Towards Consumer Education & Awareness"

(IGP) Special Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre) 2013

Chapter: Gist of Press Information Bureau Articles

Topic: 'Jago Grahak Jago' – An Initiative Towards Consumer Education And Awareness

An enlightened consumer is an empowered consumer. An aware consumer not only protects himself from exploitation but induces efficiency, transparency and accountability in the entire manufacturing and services sector. Realising the importance of consumer empowerment the Government has accorded top priority to Consumer Education, Consumer Protection and Consumer Awareness. India is a country, which has taken a lead in introducing progressive legislation for consumer protection.

The most important milestone in Consumer Movement in the country has been the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Act has set in motion a revolution in the field of consumer rights that perhaps cannot have any parallel anywhere else in the World. The Act applies to all goods and services unless specially exempted by the Central Government, in all sectors whether Private, Public or Co- operative.

Q. What are the basic components of Government’s initiatives regarding Consumer protection?

Consumer protection initiatives by the Government hinge on 3 basic parameters:

  • Firstly, ensuring a legal framework that comprises of Consumer Protection Act.

  • Secondly, evolving standards for different products to enable the consumers to make an informed choice about different products. Standards could be on technical requirement (specifications), improved specific standard terminology (glossary of terms), codes of practice or test methods or management systems standards.

  • Thirdly, consumer awareness and education is the main building block for consumer protection.

Q. What are the highlights of Consumer Protection Act, 1986?

  • Under the Act, a separate three-tier quasi judicial consumer dispute redressal machinery popularly known as consumer courts or consumer forums has been set up at the national, state and district level to provide simple, speedy and inexpensive redressal to the consumer grievances against any defective goods, deficiency in services including the restrictive/unfair trade practices.

  • In order to establish complete interlinking of computer networking of consumer court, namely, National Commission, 35 State Commissions and 607 District Forums for its monitoring and accessing various kinds of data, the Department is moving forward to introduce computerization and networking of all consumer forums.

Q. What are the actions have been taken to aware consumes?

  • Government has taken up number of initiatives for creating consumer awareness in the country. The slogan ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ has now become a household name as a result of the publicity campaign undertaken in the last 4 years. As part of the consumer awareness scheme, the rural and remote areas have been given top priority.

  • Multi-media publicity campaign is being undertaken through print and electronic media on the issues such as ISI, Hallmark, Labelling, MRP, Weights and Measures etc. Simultaneously, major initiative are being launched wherein issues that have come into focus on account of new emerging areas such as telecom, real estate, credit cards, financial products, pharmaceuticals, Insurance, travel services, medicines etc. are under taken either through joint campaigns or joint consultations with the concerned Departments.

  • Consumer awareness messages are also being disseminated through Meghdoot Post cards in consultation with Department of Post to reach far-flung rural areas including North-East States. Posters carrying messages pertaining to consumer awareness have been displayed in 1.55 lakh Rural Post Offices and more than 25000 Urban Post Offices throughout the country.

  • The Department has launched a National Help Line. The toll free number 1800-11-4000 facility is available to consumers from 9.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M. on all the working days.

  • The Department has collaborated with Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) for providing technical support regarding production and development of publicity material. Under the GTZ Project, advertisement spots pertaining to electronic media in the areas of MRP and consumer awareness regarding unhealthy trade practices were produced. Under the Indo-German technical cooperation the publicity material published by the Department has also been analysed and suggestions for new publicity materials have been identified. A ‘Consumer Diary’ is also being brought out under this Project.

Q. What is CORE Centre?

The Department has launched on March 15, 2005 Consumer on Line Resources and Empowerment (CORE) Centre on the website www.core.nic.in for consumer advocacy and online redressal of consumer grievances. Through the various advertisements relating to consumer awareness, adequate publicity is being given to the activities of CORE and its website so that consumers can take the help of online counseling/guidance being provided through it.

Q. National Consumer Protection Authority?

Another important policy initiative by the Department is a proposal for setting up a National Consumer Protection Authority, which would be a proactive body, empowered to take suo moto action for better protection of the interests of the consumers in general.

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