Govt working on new consumer protection law says PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday vowed to protect consumer interest, saying a new law is on the anvil that will crack down on misleading advertisements and provide time-bound redressal of their grievances.
Listing consumer-friendly measures taken by the BJPled government in the past three-and-half years, he said a simplified goods and services tax (GST) has ended a plethora of state and central taxes and laid the ground for reduction in prices in the long run.Rigour for use of energyefficient LED bulbs has not just brought down their prices but also helped save Rs 20,000 crore in electricity bills, Modi said
Besides, he said, the government has brought down prices of life-saving heart stent implants as well as knee implants. He also said that paying consumers subsidy directly on cooking LPG has led to a saving of Rs 57,000 crore.Addressing a global conference on consumer affairs, Modi stressed that consumer interest has not just been protected by giving them rights, but also by taming inflation and various schemes that have helped poor and middle class save on spendings.
“Today we are in the process of enacting a new Consumer Protection Act keeping in view business practices and requirements of the country. The proposed Act lays great emphasis on consumer empowerment,” Modi said.The rules are being simplified to ensure that consumer grievances are redressed in a time-bound manner and at least possible cost, he said, adding that stringent provisions are proposed against misleading ads.
A Central Consumer Protection Authority with executive powers will be set up for quick remedial action.The government’s proposed new law will replace the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 by incorporating the amended 2015 UN guidelines on consumer protection.Protecting the consumer interest is government’s priority, Modi said, adding that the government through various steps such as GST, real estate and BIS laws and Ujala, Ujjwala and DBT schemes, is helping consumers save money.
“With GST, a new business culture is developing and in the long term consumers will be the biggest beneficiaries. It is a transparent system in which no one can hurt the interests of the consumers,” he said.Increased competition among companies due to the GST will lead to moderation in prices and this will directly benefit poor and middle class consumers, he said.
Modi said the time reduction in transportation of goods would also lead to fall in prices and this benefit will also be transferred to consumers.He said inflation has been brought under control leading to economic benefits for poor and middle class consumers.“Otherwise, the rate at which the inflation was rising during previous government’s tenure it would have resulted in huge rise in the budget of the common citizen’s kitchen.
” Under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme, he said, “By transferring the money directly into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts the government has prevented leakage of more than Rs 57,000 crores.”
The government has strengthened the Public Distribution System through technology to ensure that the poor, who have the right to affordable food grains, get their due, he said.
The Business Standard, New Delhi, 27th October 2017