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Taking the Consumer Movement Forward

India has been observing 24 December as the National Consumers’ Day. It was on this day that the Indian Parliament enacted the Consumer Protection Act in 1986. India is one of the countries that have exclusive courts for consumer redressal.

However, the consumer redressal process is becoming cumbersome, expensive and time consuming.

These cases require …

a) engaging a lawyer

b) filing and attending the court proceedings

c) the non availability of cash memos as cash memos are not issued for most purchases

d) evidence is not easy to gather.

e) most purchases in the market are small retail sales.

f) the existing laws also are not very clear on the issue of compensation to consumers

g) injured by defective products.

The above situation has to improve so that consumers can get the due rights.

After 20 years of the enactment of COPRA, consumer awareness in India is spreading but slowly. Besides this the enforcement of laws that protect workers, especially in the unorganised sectors is weak. Similarly, rules and regulations for working of markets are often not followed.

Nevertheless, there is scope for consumers to realise their role and importance. It is often said that consumer movements can be effective only with the consumers’ active involvement. It requires a voluntary effort and struggle involving the participation of one and all.

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