Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment Choudhary Lal Singh today called for creating mass awareness about consumer rights and strengthening the public grievance redressal system.The Minister was addressing students, consumer rights activists, civil society members, traders and Government functionaries at a function organized by President Consumer Protection Organization D R Danish to mark the Consumer Rights Day.Principal GCW Parade Dr Hemla Aggarwal, veteran Journalist and Social Activist Sohail Kazmi, Ex-PSC member K B Jandial, Joint Controller V S Sambyal besides President Retailers Association Yash Pal Gupta and senior officers of forest and its allied wings were present on the occasion.The programme was organized to generate awareness among youth regarding J&K Consumer Protection Act,1987.Highlighting the need for generating mass awareness about consumer rights, the Minister said “JagoGrahakJago” should be the watch word for one and all.Choudhary Lal Singh said that the suitable yardstick for assessing the ground impact of the law is implementation of redressal mechanism as specified in the Act. “Good trade practices including availability of quality products, for which the government and stakeholders are striving, will help in confidence building measures among the consumers thus creating win-win situation for all” the Minister asserted.The Minister further said that fines and penalties for violation of rules also reflects the level of monitoring mechanism and quality standards required to be maintained in goods and services whether education, food, medicine and other day to day consumer commodities.
The Minister also talked about new challenges faced to the government for safeguarding the consumer rights with the advent of online shopping. He opined that the roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) envisaging single taxation system will also help in further strengthening of the act.Choudhary Lal Singh said that Government is the guardian of the rights of the consumers and it has taken every step to ensure implementation of existing consumer protection act in letter and spirit.The Minister appealed traders and NGOs to work in unison to create awareness among people about their rights as consumers, especially in rural areas. He suggested for holding regular awareness camps in this regard. He sought the cooperation of NGOs and other organizations in the implementation of the consumers act on the ground level.Meanwhile, the college students namely Supriya Sharma, Hansja Sharma and Sanpriya Sharma also presented their views on consumer rights – right to choose, right to information, right to be heard, right to redressal, right to consumer education and right to safety. They called upon all the stakeholders including customers, government agencies, NGOs to work in tandem to evolve best trade practices.Stressing the need for holding awareness camps frequently, Ex-PSC Member K B Jandial said that it is the duty of all citizens to raise voice against unethical trade related issues as it will ensure an accountable and transparent system.Joint Controller, Legal Metrology, V S Sambyal threw light on various legislations enacted for consumer’s empowerment under the J&K Consumer Protection Act, 1987.President, Jammu and Kashmir State Consumer Protection Organization, Jammu D. R. Danish highlighted the importance of the day.