YOUNG WORLD

Taking giant strides



JAIDEEP SHENOY

The clubs seek to promote the consumer movement in the country.

One small step for man and a giant step for mankind, these famous words uttered by Neil Armstrong after becoming the first human to set foot on the moon still rings loud in the ears. This accomplishment was the result of years of hard work put in by countless of scientists and others concerned in realizing a human dream of conquering the outer space. Similarly, an endeavour by Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Organisations Federation in starting Student Consumers' Club in at least eight schools across the district can be termed as a giant step in promoting consumer movement in the country.

For the young

Interestingly, the Federation too has decided to rely on the ubiquitous and time tested mantra `catch them young' for this task. According to M.J. Salian, President of the Federation the road to starting the clubs was not easy. "Despite a circular from the government and repeatedly taking up the issue with the Department of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs as well as school authorities concerned, the response was lukewarm. Only a few schools responded to the circular," he notes. However, recently, Mr. Salian was content that the clubs had completed one year of functioning in the district and it was time to honour the students and the teachers involved. "Although we sent a proposal to start the clubs in 20 schools as per government circular, only eight schools responded. But, the modest beginning made with these schools is satisfying," he says.Noting that as per the government proposal, all the clubs are eligible to get a fund of Rs. 10,000 on completing one year of activities to further promote consumer awareness, Mr. Salian said the Federation will take up the issue with the authorities concerned and follow it to its logical end. "All school teachers should submit their reports for this purpose," he advised. The Federation organized a daylong camp to mark the occasion and distributed certificates to members of the club. Although some 250 students were enrolled in the clubs in the first year, Mr. Salian is optimistic they can serve as ambassadors to champion the cause of consumer awareness in their neighbourhood. The result may well be a giant leap for consumer's rights.