Consumer Protection Bill likely in Parliament’s winter session

Times of India, October 27, 2017

New Delhi, Oct 27 () Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said the new Consumer Protection Bill is likely to come up for passage in the winter session of Parliament.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said a new consumer protection law was on the anvil that would crack down on misleading advertisements and provide time-bound redressal of their grievances.

“The Consumer Protection Bill has been sent to the Cabinet for approval,” he told reporters here.
Asked whether the Bill will come up for passage in the next session, Paswan said: “I hope so.”
Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs C R Chaudhary said the efforts will be made to bring the Bill in the winter session.

The government’s proposed new law will replace the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 by incorporating the amended 2015 UN guidelines on consumer protection.

Paswan said a Central Consumer Protection Authority will be set up for quick remedial action.
“The Bill has provisions for misleading ads and e- commerce trade,” he added.

Briefing the media about the outcome of the first global consumer protection conference on ‘Empowering consumers in new markets’ for the South, South East and East Asian Countries held on October 26-27, Paswan said the conference was attended by 1,600 participants, including delegates from 19 countries.

A resolution, Chaudhary said, has been adopted at the conference, but the same is not binding on any country.

According to an official statement, it was agreed that implementation of the UN guidelines for consumer protection is a priority for governments and stakeholders to ensure more effective and better-coordinated protection efforts in all countries and across all areas of commerce.
“The protection of consumers’ rights in the digital context is important for a sustainable and inclusive development of e-commerce, which also needs to address cross- border cooperation and enforcement,” the statement said.

It was resolved that consumer protection is essential for well-functioning financial markets, and efforts should be devoted to achieving financial consumer literacy and inclusion.
“Consumer education is paramount to maximise consumer empowerment, needing new and innovative ways to reach and enhance consumers’ knowledge of their rights and obligations in the marketplace,” the statement said.

The needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers must be attended to in all sectors of commerce and across all areas of consumer protection, including legislation, enforcement action and redressal systems in accordance with their particular needs and interests.

With increasing globalisation and the world changing into a single market, it was resolved to learn from each other’s experiences and reach a common understanding.
“The possibility of building a Regional Coalition for consumer protection needs to be explored,” the statement said.

Keeping in view of future challenges, it was agreed that to explore the option of preparing a road map with a clear vision for moving forward and institutionalising regional co- operation.

“Towards meeting these objectives, it was decided that regional consumer protection conferences on a biannual basis will be considered, in consultation with countries in the region, regarding the structure and organisational details,” the statement said. MJH ARD

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