Know Your Rights

April 5, 2017 0 Comments EDITORIAL 227 Views
Know Your Rights

In order to grow in many sectors. We all need to know our consumer rights. While World Consumer Rights Day is observed on every 15 March every year to highlight consumer issues. The State Government had recently organised a mega event in this regard with Governor addressing the mammoth gathering in Convention Centre, Jammu. Unfortunately, the day has been reduced to mere symbolism. Functions are held to mark the consumer day wherein the speakers advise people to assert their rights. The onus is put on consumers when in reality the government has to safeguard rights of consumers and protect them from exploitation. Take for instance, issues like adulterated food, hazardous products, fake and counterfeit products. Even as crores of public money is spent on maintenance of the regulatory authorities and institutions, they have failed to implement the laws meant for protection of consumer rights. WCRD was inspired by US President John F Kennedy, who gave an address to the US congress on 15 March 1962, in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so, and the consumer movement now marks that date every year as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights. The first WCRD was observed on 15 March 1983, and has since become an important occasion for mobilising citizen action. The theme for this year’s World Consumer Rights Day is ‘Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust’, as part of the campaign for better online consumer rights. Information about maximum retail price [MRP] of a product, ingredients, calories, helpline etc are mandatory. However, it has been found that online marketers are inflating the MRP and then offering discounts. These are just a few instances of consumer exploitation. Need of the hour is to promote basic rights of consumers, ensure that the rights are protected and resist the market abuses which undermine these rights. Consumer rights experts or groups can be asked to identify issues and come out with measures to check consumer exploitation. In addition to regulatory measures, consumer education needs to be strengthened. Issues like deciphering misleading advertisements, label reading, avoiding over-consumption, home budgeting, decision making, intelligent shopping, comparative analysis of products and services, managing complaints and grievances should form part of consumer education. Remembering rights and duties should not be limited to the consumer rights day celebrations but should be part of our day to day lives as every individual irrespective of the profession, trade is direct or indirect consumer and has a responsibility to become a contributor in protecting these rights. In his speech Governor, NN Vohra termed the Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs as a vital department in welfare State, saying that consumer’s rights must be protected by bringing transparency into the system.

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