Government to 'empower' consumer protection bodies: Paswan

The government plans to amend the Consumer Protection Act to make the redressal mechanism easy and universally accessible, Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said Monday.

Mumbai: The government plans to amend the Consumer Protection Act to make the redressal mechanism easy and universally accessible, Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said Monday.

A broadbased consumer protection authority which would be empowered to take suo moto action against violating companies would be set up, Paswan said at a review meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) here.

The government would broad base the consumer redress mechanism by inducting people from different walks of life, besides those from judicial and legal backgrounds, he added.

Lashing out at companies which resort to misleading advertisements, he said that the government has set up an inter-ministerial committee, with arepresentatives from the Information & Broadcasting Ministry as well as the Health and Family Welfare Ministry, to look into the matter.

He urged the BIS to undertake a massive consumer awareness programme, especially in regional languages. He also mentioned the use of social media to spread consumer awareness.

Paswan called upon BIS to develop an excellent product certification system on par with international standards in order to make Indian goods acceptable worldwide, adding that this is a pre-requisite for the ambitious 'Make In India' campaign to succeed.

The BIS has formulated 19,000 standards out of which 6,000 are internationally comparable. BIS certifies 933 products with an ISI mark.

At present, ISI certification is compulsory for 123 products, but the minister said that the number of certified products would need to increase. 

Public health products, especially bottled drinking water should be brought under ISI certification to increase consumer confidence, Paswan said.

He also said that hallmarking of gold and silver jewellery should give clear information about purity of metals.

Paswan said that there is a need to revamp and scale up the activities of BIS, to keep pace with changing times. Its labs need to be equipped with state-of-the art testing equipments, he said.

He also urged BIS to cut down the time taken for certification.

Stressing that the government is committed to consumer protection, Paswan batted for more powers for consumer protection authorities and fora.

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