West Bengal to set up advisory panel after legalising hawking

Following its decision to legalise hawking and surging e-commerce sales, the West Bengal government is constituting a five-member advisory panel for the consumer department, a state minister said on Tuesday.

IANS| Last Updated: Mar 17, 2015, 16:01 PM IST

Kolkata: Following its decision to legalise hawking and surging e-commerce sales, the West Bengal government is constituting a five-member advisory panel for the consumer department, a state minister said on Tuesday.

"The state government will be issuing licences to hawkers but what about consumer protection in the wake of this?" Minister of Consumer Affairs Sadhan Pande said.

"Since hawkers presently don't provide any bills on goods purchased, the consumer department needs to work out a plan to address the upcoming changes," he said.

Pande said the state also needs to come up with policies related to the surge in online trading to protect consumer's interest.

"E-commerce and online trading is growing in the state and we need to address consumers' concerns on this front also," he said.

A prominent e-retailer was forced to apologise on October 7 to millions of its customers after its promises of bumper discounts and offers of unbeatable prices on orders placed for a plethora of products came a cropper.

The state government will be roping in personnel from IIT Kharagpur and IIM Calcutta in the advisory panel.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on March 13 announced Bengal was set to become the first state in the country to legalise hawking.

Pande said the advisory panel will also look into the need to regulate the complex procedures related to mediclaim policies.

He said the state has hiked the court adjournment fee from Rs.300-400 to Rs.5,000 to prevent big firms from seeking adjournment during the consumer court proceedings.

"This will provide speedier delivery of justice," he added.