Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution chaired the 31st meeting of the Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) in New Delhi.
The topics discussed in the meeting included the points put forth by the Members on challenges in combating adulteration, strengthening the enforcement machinery and testing Infrastructure, training and capacity Building of all stakeholders, consumer advocacy, capacity building of Panchayati Raj Institutions and other Rural Development Functionaries to spread consumer awareness in the rural areas, setting up a Regulatory Authority for E-Commerce and National Consumer Awareness Yatra.
Suggestions from the Members were also sought on issues like service charges being charged by hotels and restaurants, awareness on wastage of food, legal metrology activities such as sale at less than MRP, Jagrook Grahak Kendra and rising awareness, issues related to food adulteration and fake and spurious goods.
The Officers from the Central Government Regulatory Agencies including FSSAI, BIS and officers from State Governments and representatives from Voluntary Consumer Organisations participated in the meeting.
Consumer Protection Councils:
The Consumer Protection Act postulates establishment of Consumer Protection Councils at the Central and State levels for the purpose of spreading consumer awareness. The objects of the Councils, as per the Act, shall be to promote and protect the rights of the consumers such as:
-The right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property
-The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;
-The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices;
-The right to be heard and to be assured that consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums
-The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers and
-The right to consumer education.
Central Consumer Protection Council:
The Consumer Protection Act empowers the Central Government to establish a Central Consumer Protection Council consisting of the Minister in charge of consumer affairs in the Central Government as its Chairman and such number of other official and non-official members representing such interests as may be prescribed.
Under the Consumer Protection Council Rules 1987, the membership of the Council is restricted to 150 members including the Central Minister in charge of Consumer Affairs as the Chairman. The term of the Council is three years.
To monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Council, the Central Government may constitute a standing working group from amongst the members of the council under the Chairmanship of the Member Secretary of the Council.
The Council shall meet as and when necessary, but at least one meeting of the Council shall be held at such time and place as the Chairman may think fit.
State Consumer Protection Council:
The Consumer Protection Act provides for the establishment of State Consumer Protection Councils by the State Governments. The State Council shall consist of a Minister in charge of consumer affairs in the State Government as its Chairman and such number of other official or non-official members representing such interests as may be prescribed by the State Government and ten nominees of the Central Government.
The State Council shall meet as and when necessary but not less than two meetings shall be held every year at such time and place as the Chairman may think fit.
District Consumer Protection Council:
In order to promote and protect the rights of consumers, within the district, the Consumer Protection Act, provides for the establishment of a District Consumer Protection Council in every district. It shall consist of the Collector of the district as its Chairman and such number of other official and non-official members representing such interests as may be prescribed by the State Government.
It shall meet as and when necessary but not less then two meetings shall be held every year. The Chairman shall decide the time and place of the meeting.