The Government has taken number of initiatives for the protection of the interests of consumers. Very soon services and products in the area of health, food etc. shall have to follow mandatory quality standards. Precious metal like Gold and silvers shall have to wear hallmarking for the larger interests of consumers. New Bureau of Indian Standards Act has been enacted for this purpose and rules are being framed. This was announced by Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Consumer Affair, Food & Public Distribution while addressing Regional Editors’ Conference in Chandigarh today. Sh. Ram Vilas Paswan said his ministry is also working on new Consumer Protection Act which will have more teeth to protect the interests of consumers. An authority has been proposed under the Act to take suo motto action if product and services are not up to the standard. The Minister said charging over MRP is unfair trade practice and expressed hope that the new Consumer Protection Act will effectively check that.
Regarding misleading advertisements, Sh. Ram Vilas Paswan said effective provisions have been proposed in the new Consumer Protection Act. The Act will enable people to file complains in Consumers Courts online from any place in the country and it will ensure time bound admission of their complaints in the courts.
Highlighting reforms initiated in Public Distribution System, Sh. Ram Vilas Paswan said that so far 100 percent digitization of ration card has been completed and about 70 percent cards have been linked with Aadhar Cards to make the system more transparent and leak proof. The Union Minister said that at present more than 81 crore people are getting subsidized food grains i.e .Rs. 2/kg wheat and 3/kg rice under National Food Security Act and very soon beneficiaries from across the nation except Tamil Nadu will get food grains as Kerala has also agreed to implement the Act next month.
Referring efforts being made by Government to check prices of essential commodities, especially pulses, Sh. Ram Vilas Paswan said that incentives given to farmers will increase the availability of the produce soon. He said that besides increasing MSP for the pulses, the Government agencies are making direct procurement of pulses from the farmers at market price for the buffer stocks of 20 lakh MT. The states are being provided pulses at subsidies rates from this stock, said the Minister.
Sh. Ram Vilas Paswan asserted that consumer awareness is of paramount importance for safeguarding their interests, and appealed media to play an active role in this regard.