Shops to have consumer scale soon

Sharath S. Srivatsa

BANGALORE: Your neighbourhood grocery store will soon have a new feature exclusively at the disposal of consumers. Soon all traders dealing in packaged commodities will have to install an electronic scale, known as the consumer scale for the use of buyers to weigh the commodities if they suspect they are being cheated.

The new facility follows the amendment to Rule 23 (A) of the Standards of Weights and Measures Packaged Commodities Rule 1977 that provides for an independent consumer scale in each shop for the exclusive use of consumers. The amendment, made on July 7, 2006, has already come into effect on January 13, 2007.

Deputy Controller (Administration) of Legal Metrology C.M. Mallikarjun told The Hindu that traders have been given a three-month grace period for compliance, after which action would be taken against offenders. He said: "The cost of maintaining a small electronic scale is not much and such a measure could also develop the confidence of consumers on the traders."

All retailers coming under the purview of Value Added Tax (VAT) or Turn Over Tax (TOT) regimes and dealing in packaged commodities whose net content declaration is by weight or volume or a combination of both have to maintain an electronic weighing machine of accuracy Class III with smallest division of at least 1 gram. Class III scale is used to weigh groceries and eatables.

Besides the consumer scale, traders should also provide facility to issue a printed receipt indicating inter alia the gross quantity and price to the consumers.

Though the concept is new in India, it is already in vogue in the West.

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