Consumer affairs: DICs on the anvil

MYSORE, DEC. 30. The Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Mr. V. Srinivas Prasad, said on Sunday that the Centre would soon start district information centres (DICs) to disseminate information about consumer affairs.

Inaugurating the National Consumers' Day celebration organised by the Karnataka State Federation of Consumers' Organisations, he said the first DIC would be set up in Mysore. The DICs would be set up jointly by the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs and zilla panchayats, he added.

He said the DICs would be involved in spreading awareness about consumer rights and related issues. They would act as nodal agencies that would reach out to rural areas for the benefit of the people. Awareness about consumer rights was confined to urban areas, he said, and added that efforts should be made to increase awareness in rural areas.

Mr. Prasad said he had written to the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, to convert the consumer rights campaign into a mass movement on the lines of adult literacy programmes.

He had sought a meeting of chief ministers of all the States to implement consumer awareness programmes on a national scale and in a time frame.

He said the Union Government was setting up a consumer excellence centre in Bangalore to test items produced in various sectors. The State Government had allotted land, and the centre would be ready soon. Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, would work to the advantage of consumers, he added.

Memorandum: The Karnataka State Federation of Consumers' Organisations submitted a memorandum to the minister seeking changes in the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection Act.

The memorandum said consumers in the State faced difficulty in getting the orders of district fora executed, and that the fora had no powers to initiate action against persons who failed to comply with their orders.

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