What is the National Action Plan for Consumer Awareness?


What is the National Action Plan for Consumer Awareness

As the decision was taken on the 50th National Development Council (NDC) meeting held on 21.12.2002, Consumer Protection was identified as a thrust area, and the Department of Consumer Affairs has been appointed ‘Evolving a National Action Plan for Consumer Awareness and Redressal and Enforcement of Consumer Protection Act, 1986’.

It is obvious to mention here that during the 10th Plan Department received approval of Rs. 27.20 crores only for consumer protection and related activities under Plan. The Department has proposed an enhancement of this allocation of Rs. 312 crores during the Plan period, as per details at Annex-I and proposes following National Action Plan;

Features

  • Undertaking Consumer Awareness programmes: Providing Education around100 crore of people of various categories on various subject matters of consumer interest which are being dealt with by different Ministries/Departments is a gigantic task and the same cannot be undertaken as a sustained national programme unless the Planning Commission approves a substantial budget. As a result, the Department of Consumer Affairs has proposed an allocation of Rs.200 crores during the 10th Plan period for generating and strengthening consumer awareness in the country.
  • Strengthening Standards Laboratories of Weights & Measures: The Department of Consumer Affairs also measures the Standards of Weights & Measures Act, 1976 and Standards of Weights & Measures Enforcement Act, 1985 for controlling all the weighing and measuring instruments used in trade and commerce. For the benefit of consumers, it is, therefore, necessary that these instruments are accurate so that the consumers get the right quantity, which they pay for. Any inaccuracy in weighing and measuring instruments used by the trade and commerce would lead to loss to the consumer in general to the limit of thousands of crores. So the weighing and measuring instruments are controlled by periodical checking against the Standards of Weights & Measures as required to be maintained
  • Strengthening Standards Laboratories of Weights & Measures: The Department of Consumer Affairs also regulates the Standards of Weights & Measures Act, 1976 and Standards of Weights & Measures Enforcement Act, 1985 for regulating all the weighing and measuring instruments used in trade and commerce. For the welfare of consumers, it is necessary that these instruments are precise so that the consumers get the right quantity, which they pay for. Any fraud activity in weighing and measuring instruments used by the trade and commerce would lead to loss to the consumer in general to the extent of thousands of crores.
  • Consumer Clubs: Under Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF) a new scheme has been introduced for involving students with consumer protection related issues in a playful and informal manner. On the day of National Consumer Day on 24th, December 2003 Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution launched “Consumer Clubs” in schools of Delhi. Proposal to set up consumer clubs is being received from different States of the country. Under the scheme, all the states and UTs will be covered.
  • Consumer Activist Group: A small Consumer Activist team has been introduced within the Department which includes senior officers of the Department and a few very educated and experienced activists. This Group will identify weak areas in which Department should initiate proactive action for safeguarding the interest of consumers and various ways in which this can be done. This Group will show the path to the Department on dealing with day to day consumer related problem appearing in newspapers etc. which require immediate attention.
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