The Department has been conducting country-wide multimedia awareness campaigns titled “Jago Grahak Jago”. Through simple messages, consumers are made aware of fraudulent practices or problems and the mechanisms to seek redressal. The campaigns have been carried out through print media, TV, radio, cinema theatres, websites, hoardings / display board etc
In order to create awareness amongst the people living in rural & backward areas, the Department takes part in important fairs / festivals / events of various States / UTs, in view of the fact that such fairs / festivals / events draw a large number of people from rural and backward areas. The Department also releases Grant-in-Aid to States / UTs for carrying out consumer awareness activities with local content.
Further, the Department is using social media to generate awareness of consumers through creatives/ captions on consumer rights and redressal mechanisms. The digital social media channels are being professionally managed and creative content relevant to consumer awareness and protection of consumer rights is posted in the social media channels of the department.
“Jagriti”, a mascot for empowering consumers and generating awareness of their rights has also been launched by the Department.
Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, a three tier quasi-judicial mechanism, commonly known as ‘Consumer Commissions’, have been established at the District level (District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission), State level (State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission) and National level (National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission) levels for the protection of the rights of consumers and to provide simple and speedy redressal of consumer disputes. The consumer commissions are empowered to give relief of a specific nature and award, wherever appropriate, compensation to consumers.
The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has been established under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 to regulate matters relating to consumer rights violations, unfair trade practices, and false or misleading advertisements that harm the public and consumer interests.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has also set up a National Consumer Helpline (NCH) to attend to consumer grievances. The website – www.consumerhelpline.gov.in has been launched by the Department of Consumer Affairs to create awareness, advise and redress consumer grievances and act as a central registry for lodging consumer grievances. Under the convergence model, which is an out of court dispute redressal mechanism, NCH partners with companies who have a proactive approach for efficient consumer complaint resolution. NCH escalates and follows up the complaints received at NCH with the convergence company and grievances pertaining to them, as soon as it is submitted, almost instantly.
Section 38(7) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 prescribes that every complaint shall be disposed of as expeditiously as possible and endeavour shall be made to decide the complaint within a period of three months from the date of receipt of notice by the opposite party where the complaint does not require analysis or testing of commodities and within five months if it requires analysis or testing of commodities.
During 2022, number of consumer cases which were disposed of is more than the number of cases filed.
The Central Government has been providing financial assistance to the State Governments under the scheme, ‘Strengthening Consumer Commissions’ for strengthening the infrastructure of consumer Commissions so that a minimum level of facilities is made available at each Consumer Commission.
The financial assistance is provided for the creation of buildup area of upto 5000 sq. ft. in respect of the District Commission building and 11000 sq. ft. in respect of the State Commission building, which include in both cases 1000 sq. ft. for the construction of a Mediation Cell.
Assistance for non-building assets is also provided for the purchase of furniture, computer, office equipment, library books etc within the overall cost ceiling of Rs. 25.00 lakhs in respect of a State Commission and Rs.10.00 lakhs in respect of a District Commission.
Department of Consumer Affairs also operates a scheme ‘Computerization and Computer Networking of Consumer Commissions in the country (CONFONET)’ to fully computerize all the Consumer Commissions in the country to enable access to information and quicker disposal of cases. Under the scheme, hardware, software and technical manpower are provided to the Consumer commissions.
A Consumer Commission online application portal named “edaakhil.nic.in” has been developed to facilitate the consumers/advocates to file consumer complaints online through the e-Daakhil portal from home or anywhere at their own comfort. E-daakhil has been operational in 35 States/UTs of the Country.
This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply today in the Lok Sabha.