Maharashtra government wants activists and experts to help consumers when needed
Mumbai city news: The state government wants to accredit consumer rights activists and experts in two categories — voluntary consumer activists who fight for consumer rights more as a social cause at no charge, and professional consumer advisors who take up consumers’ issues or give counsel for a fee.mumbai Updated: Jul 03, 2017 00:08 IST
To protect consumer interests in a more organised manner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government plans to make a list of all activists and experts and authorise them to spread awareness and help consumers in distress.
The state government wants to accredit consumer rights activists and experts in two categories — voluntary consumer activists who fight for consumer rights more as a social cause at no charge, and professional consumer advisors who take up consumers’ issues or give counsel for a fee.
The onset of the Goods and Services Tax may lead to more confusion among consumers and so there is a need for qualified assistance, the government feels.
The state food and civil supplies department on Saturday issued a government resolution forming a committee to identify voluntary consumer activists and professional consumer advisors and draft rules for their accreditation. The committee, which will be chaired by the principal secretary of the department, also comprises representatives of consumer organisations such as the Consumer Guidance Society of India, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, and Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat.
An official from the food and civil supplies department said, “The Centre had written to the state government in December last year asking us to sort consumer rights activists into voluntary activists and professional advisors, get them accredited and give them the basic training and tools required to work for consumer awareness. Accordingly, we constituted a committee of government officials and activists from known consumer rights outfits to formulate the rules and take this forward.”
The government machinery to protect consumer rights comprises a consumer helpline, a state commission for consumers and consumer grievance redressal forums, all of which are flooded with complaints. Moreover, increasing consumerism, and a spurt in e-commerce companies and online shopping has deepened the need to have a stronger support system for consumers and assistance from non-government institutions in an organised manner will be helpful, the official said.