Don’t be gullible, consumers told

Special Correspondent

National Consumer Day: need for activism, advocacy, awareness stressed

BANGALORE: Speakers at the National Consumer Day celebrations here on Monday called for combining activism, advocacy and awareness with regard to consumerism.

The programme was organised by the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs.

In his inaugural address, Legislative Council Chairman B.K. Chandrashekar said consumer awareness was one of the most important aspects of modern society as it constituted an important part of economic activity. Market forces would do anything to sell their products, and most of the time gullible consumers were lured into consuming what they did not need.

Artificial colours

He cautioned consumers to be aware of the ingredients that went into every product, especially food items where a number of artificial colouring agents, emulsifiers and artificial flavours were used. Quoting research surveys on adulteration of food items in India, Prof. Chandrashekar said every third food item in India had some level of adulteration be it in the raw form or in the finished product.

In the service sector also consumers had the right to demand the right type of service for the money they paid. Deficient and faulty service could also be redressed by consumer courts.

Prof. Chandrashekar Urged the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs to constitute special squads to check hoarding and speculation and give consumers, particularly the poor, the benefit of inexpensive consumer goods through the Public Distribution System.

He praised the judiciary for the role it was playing, especially through consumer courts, by giving justice to consumers.

Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission president Chandrashekaraiah, who presided, said there was some degree of awareness about the rights of consumers in urban areas but hardly any of them exercised them in the right spirit. In rural areas, awareness was very low and people were subject to unethical market practices.

He said medical negligence was also under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, and people should be aware of their rights to seek redressal in cases of medical negligence.

Mr. Chandrashekaraiah presented prizes to students who participated in consumer awareness programmes held in their schools.

Consumer clubs

The Principal Secretary, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Tara Ajai Singh, said there were 642 consumer clubs in various high schools in the State, and each club had been given Rs. 10,000 for conducting various activities related to consumer awareness.

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