24th December: National Consumers Day
The Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution celebrated the National Consumer Day 2018 on 24th December at the Kothari Auditorium, DRDO Bhawan, New Delhi. The theme of the 2018 National Consumers Day was “Timely Disposal of Consumer Complaints”.
The National Consumers Day is celebrated on the 24th December because it was on the 24th December 1986 the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the president.
Initiatives for timely redressal of consumer grievances
On the occasion, Shri Avinash K Srivastava, Secretary of Department of Consumer Affairs mentioned about the following four key initiatives taken by the department to reduce costs and ensure timely redressal of consumer grievances:
- Strengthening of the National Consumer Helpline with new software, additional counsellors and Zonal Helplines in 6 zones for regional language services. 480 major Companies including several e-commerce platforms have been roped in as convergence partners for speedy resolution of cases.
- Strengthening of Consumer Fora with infrastructure and CONFONET (It is the computer networking of consumer fora)
- On directions of Supreme Court, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has issued new Regulations making admission or rejection of cases in 21 days and pronouncing judgment in 45 days after the final hearing. Model Rules have also been framed to assist States in recruiting qualified persons for District fora and State Commissions.
- The new Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 through Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) and alternate dispute resolution mechanism through mediation and simplification of adjudication procedures will result in quick disposal of consumer cases.
The National Consumers Day 2018 is significant for the fact that the government is preparing to repeal the Consumer Protection Act 1986 and bring in a new Act with substantial changes to holistically cover all aspects of consumer grievance redressal and to streamline the functioning of Consumer forums to meet future challenges for more effective consumer protection. The new bill has been passed in the Loksabha and is pending before Rajyasabha.