Plumbers, electricians and real estate agents, among others, may soon have to obtain licenses before they can start working.
The government will shortly unveil a comprehensive national consumer policy (NCP) bringing in laws and regulations to cover professions "currently unregulated".
“Service providers of occupational and professional categories, currently unregulated, would be regulated by compulsory affiliation to self-regulatory professional boards at the national and state level in sectors of non-hazardous nature like plumbers, travel agents, real estate agents, builders employment brokers, franchisees etc," says the draft policy, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times.
The policy also envisages the enactment of a Consumer Products Safety Act with criminal and civil liablity for selling dangerous goods or providing inadequate services, “with suitable amendments to other consumer related acts”. “This would ensure upgradation of product/service safety standards to internationally accepted levels”, it notes.
The draft also proposes setting up a regulatory body called the National Consumer Product Safety Authority to examine and identify risks of serious injury or death owing to consumer products.
The authority would also develop and update safety standards in collaboration with ministries, industry and standard defining agencies including the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
Moreover, advertisements targeted at children below 14 years will have to be “pre-vetted by a suitable authority keeping in mind their (the children's) inability to make informed choices. Suitable provisions in the relevant Acts would be incorporated to protect children from the sale of tobacco, alcohol, drugs etc,” says the draft.
The quality of self-regulating bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) would also be regularly reviewed jointly with concerned departments and “suitable policy changes would be taken up with concerned departments to protect consumers”.
All business establishments selling goods and services shall be required to provide their names, designations, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail address of grievance redressal officers in their annual reports, product labels, advertisements and, bills.
“Suitable amendments to packaging regulations and the Companies Act and other relevant laws would be brought about on the above issues,” the draft said.