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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Consumer complaints turn easier, online registration ahead

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 20, 2012
First Published: 21:25 IST(20/12/2012) | Last Updated: 21:28 IST(20/12/2012)

The government has decided to introduce an online complaints registration system to minimise footfalls in consumer forums. The first of its kind system in the country would also help in faster registration of complaints.

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“Consumers won’t have to wait for the forums to open and do all the paper work,” said Pankaj Agrawala, secretary, department of consumer affairs, on Thursday. “We’re in process of mediation for faster grievance redressal, under which mediation officers will be posted at consumer courts to sort out issues before filing of cases.”

Releasing a joint study by FICCI and Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeit Activities Destroying Economy (CASCADE), Agrawala said along with consumer awareness, there is a need to have a strong set of standards and enforcement mechanism.

The study has estimated an annual tax loss of Rs. 26,190 crore to the exchequer and an overall annual sales loss of Rs. 1 lakh crore to the industry due to tax evasion, counterfeiting and smuggling.

While the highest revenue loss to the industry is from the FMCG sector (packaged goods) at Rs. 20,378 crore, the tobacco sector accounts for the highest revenue-to-tax percentage loss to the government, at over 60%.

Tax arbitrage is considered one of the key contributors to the menace of smuggling and counterfeiting.      

Agrawala said the government is deeply concerned over complexity in financial sector, and a proper regulatory regime needs to be in place to protect the consumers.  

He said the government has issued an order on Thursday towards having standard packaging of bottled drinks and beverages in order to ensure correct and standard measurement of contents across the board.

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