India’s new consumer protection bill futuristic, says minister

The bill has been developed through extensive stakeholder consultation and study of best practices across the world.

GN Bureau | October 19, 2016


#Consumer Dispute Redressal   #Digital technologies   #Consumer Affairs   #C.R. Chaudhary   #Consumer Protection Bill  
India’s new consumer protection bill futuristic, says minister
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C.R. Chaudhary, minister of state for consumer affairs, said that the existing Consumer Protection Act-1986 is being replaced by a consumer friendly legislation, with a forward looking approach including protection of consumer’s rights while transacting through e-commerce.

 
 “This bill has been developed through extensive stakeholder consultation and study of best practices across the world.  While drafting the Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, special emphasis has been made to ensure simplicity, speed, access, affordability and timely delivery of justice.  In true sense it is a futuristic bill and a great transformative step towards strengthening consumer protection,” Chaudhary said while addressing the first session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy during launch of revised UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection at Geneva.
 
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, was introduced in the lok sabha on August 10, 2015.
 
The minister said two decades earlier or even 10 years ago, no one could have imagined the impact of digital technologies on the average Indian. For starters, the numbers are mind boggling. The total number of Indians with access to a cell phone is already close to a billion. The number of people in the country today with Internet access is already 300 million plus-the size of the US population.
 
“Over the next decade, this number is expected to rise to 800 plus million. This dramatic increase is going to be accompanied by a change in the profile of the average user. The first 100 million ‘digital Indians’ were largely men, urban, educated, earning higher incomes and typically young. The 400 to 500 millionth ‘digital Indians’ are going to be the opposite-rural, mid-income, older, with more women included. This digital democratization will have a profound impact on how Indians see, select, study, spend, save, socialize and sell. Digital technologies will save, socialize and sell. Digital technologies will fundamentally change the nature of these interactions. e-commerce therefore is one of our priority focus areas.“
 
He added that India’s rate of urbanization has been different from most other countries. “We estimate that about 40% of Indian’s population will live in urban areas by 2025, accounting for more than 60% of the total consumption.  India’s rural market is also huge, and it has its own set of challenges. To tap this huge market potential large number of companies are operating in various sectors. Most of these companies are successful in terms of profitability, sales revenue line and even market share and growth rates. High growth of business also brings with it more issues concerning the consumers such as unfair pricing, product safety, and quantity and quality assurance.”
 
 The minister said that “our three tier system of Consumer Dispute Redressal through quasi-judicial bodies is a unique concept, which ensures a quicker and less costly relief to the consumers.  Our government has tabled a new Consumer Protection Bill in the parliament, drawing from the latest and the best global practices.  Through this new legislation we aim to address the consumer issues in a comprehensive manner offering executive, quasi-judicial and judicial remedies”.
 

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