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More clout ahead for consumers

Instances of the Indian consumer going through distress are rampant, be it in realty, healthcare, education or aviation, Mahua Venkatesh reports.

business Updated: Sep 06, 2012 01:50 IST
Mahua Venkatesh

Naina Jain (name changed), a bank executive, had bought an upscale apartment in DLF’s Belaire project hoping to move in by 2011. However, she is yet to get her apartment.

“It is naturally nightmarish for us ... huge money has gone in and the anxiety often becomes unbearable,” Jain said.

The spokesperson at DLF, when contacted, said: “It is part of the agreement that we would compensate for any delay and therefore there is no need for any worry.” But words are no balm for the consumer, who is concerned about the safety of her investment.

Instances of the Indian consumer going through distress are rampant, be it in realty, healthcare, education or aviation.

The government is moving to consider the recommendations of a committee set up by the ministry of corporate affairs last year under Dhanendra Kumar, former chief of Competition Commission of India (CCI), to formulate a ‘National Competition Policy’.



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The panel has noted in its report that there is a need to improve and tighten measures to protect consumer interests while creating a more competitive market environment and attracting investments.

“There are certain policy induced distortions which are causing concern for the consumers and those need to be looked into,” Kumar said.

The CCI has also said that it will look into various sectors as and when required, to rule out consumer rights violations.

According to the committee, there is need to create a more level playing field in civil aviation between private, national and foreign carriers.

Its report, which has been submitted to the government, underlines the need to create a single civil aviation policy, including a framework for monitoring competitive pricing to safeguard consumers interest.

It also prescribed removal of preferential treatment to national carrier Air India to infuse healthy competition.

It has also noted anti-consumer practices in other sectors such as healthcare and education.


In healthcare, “There is a tremendous need to ensure that healthcare services are provided to all and for this we need many more healthcare service providers and full fledged hospitals in the urban and rural areas,” Rajeev Sharma, senior consultant, Orthopedic surgery, Apollo Hospital said.

Similarly, the absence of ‘industry status’ in the real estate sector is causing a bottleneck.

“The monetary policy of the Reserve Bank of India has also had a precarious effect”, the report said.

“There is huge demand in the housing sector and we would see how to ensure to push real estate developers to complete projects on time, that has been a major cause for concern,” said TM Bhasin, chairman and managing director, Indian Bank.

In the education sector, the committee has prescribed more autonomy to higher education institutions and they should be allowed determine their own policies and curriculum.

It also said that setting up of foreign education institutes is key and this would help Indian universities and institutions to learn about global practices and become more competitive to meet the demands of the market.