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Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela- Serving the consumers for 35 yrs.
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Tinker with the Act & destroy the movement
 

District Forums can adjudicate telecom consumer disputes
 

Comments on CPA
Amendments
 

OUT OF THE BOX
 
 

Gist of Cases Pursued
 
 

Review Petition-SC
 
 

Supreme Court Order in LPG Case
 
 

Major Events
 

Major Office-bearers
 

APPEAL
 

Text of CPC's appeal in the Supreme Court in 
LPG short-filling case
 
 

LPG case - NCDRC verdict
 

LPG case - NCDRC's Review Order
 
 

Council's Review
 
 

Indane bottling 
 -IITK Report
 

Committee Report on 
short-filling of LPG
 

Complaint Petition - Indane short-filling 
 
 

Eliminate UTPs
 
 

Sample 
Complaint Petition
 
 
 

Abdul Kalam's Message
 

FAQs
 

Membership
 

Donation
 

RBI 's guidelines 
on Credit Card
 

CP Act
 

FAQs on Elec. 
Reforms in Orissa
 

22nd Annual Report
 

Committee for LPG short-filling
 

Your Page
 

Hurrah for the consumer? -A.Dharker
 

The last letter from the veteran
 

Message of Justice Wadhwa
 
 

Awarded Paintings-2
Awarded Paintings
 
 

LG Case
 
 

Plg Comn. Meet


Towards achieving atmanirbhar Bharat
B.Vaidyanathan*

             (For achieving the avowed goal of  atmanirbhar bharat or a self-reliant India,  efficient and professional business needs to be encouraged and mediocrity should be weeded out in an institutionalized manner.  Ecommerce business clearly demonstrates how consumers are badly affected due to business entities, whose only goal appears to be to thrive in the market by undercutting the prices, without focusing on quality assurance.  Government of India has a key role to play. Thrust to vigorously implement the Consumer Protection Act 2019 through Consumer Courts can be the best way to achieve those goals.)

       Our Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi has given a call for ushering in an ‘atmanirbhar bharat’ or self-reliant India.  To achieve this goal of creating a self-reliant India, several key policy initiatives are being put in place, such as, banning of all non-essential imports, especially from China, giving a thrust for indigenisation of wide variety of goods, from PPE kits for COVID-19 to defence hardware.  The clarion call to become “Vocal for Local” and to develop a culture to produce quality products and services, to be able to not only provide substitutes for imported goods, but be able to export them across the world.  All these noble goals will remain on paper unless conscious efforts are made to translate them into reality.

      During these Covid times, e-commerce companies came in handy to many consumers who preferred to get all their needs at home, especially the essential ones.  This culture is likely to grow in the future, as consumers realising the advantages of virtual shopping, which practically offers doing the shopping at a convenient time, within the safe confines and comfort of their home.  Add to this the bonus of being able to get the products at a discount.  Logically, this should drive sizeable chunk of the digitally literate masses, capable of handling digital payments, to procure things over the internet.  But quite often than not, one comes across several cases of desperate consumers of having to undergo bitter experience, may be in terms of quality of goods or duplicates supplied, higher price charged or abnormal delays or cancellations of orders, unilaterally by the e-commerce company. 

        Though, the business in the country is in general affected by the uncertainties thrown up and the challenges encountered thereof due to the Covid pandemic, one cannot help but ask the simple question as to why some are better oriented in serving the customers than the others.  For example, JioMart, the new e-commerce platform floated by the well-known Reliance Industries Ltd., with an array of groceries and vegetables is invariably falling short in delivering the articles, in addition to delayed delivery than that committed at the time of placing the order.  No doubt, to its credit it must be stated that the cost of the items not supplied are immediately refunded to the account of the customer, without keeping it in the customer’s wallet account, as done by certain operators like Big Basket.  While JioMart is offering all packaged goods at a minimum 5% discount, the stated advantage of getting the items at lesser than the market price is lost if there is no dependability on such supplies.  To add to the problems of the customers, the delivery is done at any time during the day/evening as per their convenience, without consulting the customer.  Further, wrong accounting of the items as “Delivered”, without even informing the OTP to the customer, which is to be shared with the delivering person at the time of delivery, is a real nightmare.  While the ambitious goal of servicing lakhs of consumers every day is indeed great, will it not be appropriate to device and incorporate appropriate systems with adequate manpower, to service those millions who repose faith in your services? 

        In contrast, the Indian grown Flipkart, by and large, is doing a great job.  My personal experience with Flipkart has been quite good.  The gamut of products that are made available should be good enough to cater to the needs of the average consumer.  As far as the groceries are concerned, prices may not be so unrealistically low as compared with that of JioMart, which in any case cannot vouch for supply of all those items as per order, but are definitely attractive enough.  The biggest positive aspect of the home grown Flipkart is the ease with which the consumer can access all the product details such as, description of the product, specifications, date of manufacture, date of expiry, where the item is manufactured, product ratings, supplier ratings, and so on.  In addition plenty of consumer reviews and answered queries about the product make choosing a product a pleasure.  Thus, the consumer can make an informed choice and thus he is in general not taken by surprise, when the product actually arrives at his doorstep.  Invariably, the delivery schedule is adhered to, but for some aberrations, even during this Covid times.  One also has to admit that seldom Flipkart fails to deliver the items for which an order is placed, whether it is groceries or other items.  The best part of ordering groceries through the Supermart of this e-commerce giant is the option to choose the date of delivery and delivery time, which is invariably adhered to.  When the delivery intimation is sent to the customer, when the product/items leave the nearest servicing Hub, the customer is also informed the contact number of the delivering person, so that the customer has the option to adjust the time of delivery, as per the personal requirement, in case of any need.  Obviously, I had utilised that on occasions, whenever there was any need.  Flipkart also provides the tracking facility to the customer, so that the customer can know when exactly he can expect the product to be delivered, as early deliveries are not unusual.  Overall, as I have experienced, Flipkart has set up several benchmarks in establishing reliable systems, information sharing, product delivery and customer service, which will be worth emulating by all others.

         As it will appear, in comparison to innovation and research to come out with new products and services, meeting international expectations and at competitive prices, e-commerce ventures involving procurement of products/enlisting suppliers, setting up warehouses and supplying them to the customers is not that challenging and some are already doing that in a competent manner.  So, when one talks about atmanirbhar or being self-reliant, these business ventures should endeavour to give the best possible service, rather than be happy to make some money by exploiting the huge consumer base or entice them by giving deep discounts, so as to make it difficult for others to run their show.    

       Herein comes the role of the government.  The amended Consumer Protection Act 2019, was notified in August 2019.  It is a year since then, but the Rules to enable the provisions of the Act are yet to be framed.  Because of this inordinate delay in framing the Rules, the Department of Consumer Affairs has notified the different sections of the amended Act, which do not require framing or establishing of dispensations such as the Consumer Protection Authority, as having come into force with effect from 20th July 2020.  Hence, now an individual having a grievance against an e-commerce entity can file the Consumer Dispute Case even in the place where he is residing or working, irrespective of the place where the opposite party carries on his business.  This facility needs to be widely publicised, so that affected individuals can seek remedy without any problem, as the geographical barriers have been removed. 

        But for the initial euphoria, the visibility and attraction of the consumer courts as a source of speedy redressal of consumer grievances have substantially reduced over the years, because of inordinate delays in adjudication, hyper technical approach and lacunae in enforcement of orders.    If we are keen about self-reliance, in addition to all the motivational incentives that are given to the business ventures, which are undoubtedly the job creators, it is imperative that stringent penalties are also enforced, for doing lackadaisical business.  For example, if an e-commerce entity cancels any item after accepting the payment for the orders placed, it should be made mandatory to pay at least twice the cost of the item so cancelled, in case of items available freely in the market and ten times the cost of the item, in all other cases, to the affected customer.  Such enabling provisions need to be enforced ruthlessly by the consumer courts, if the defaulting company fails to honour such provisions, with damages.  Such steps across the spectrum, is likely to make the Indian companies more efficient and professional, at least out of compulsion, making them competitive, which is the ultimate objective.  Obviously, efficiency and professional culture alone can make our products and services internationally acceptable. 

       E-commerce entities which affect quite a good cross section of the Indian population and whose operations must have been experienced by many has been taken as an example for illustration.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

*Mr. B.Vaidyanathan, is the Chief Mentor, Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Consumers will be better protected - Narendra Modi

Software can only deliver, if the hardware is also good

A letter to the PM, Sri Narendra Modi

Supreme and fallible - Right to blunder?

Boot out the MNCsHow dare they do business in India!!

Arnab, et al!  There are many more vital things other than Sushma bashing "Jago Grahak Jago"

Let the consumer be doomed

Employees are entitled to benefit of two years weightage under the EPS

Don't Disturb - Justice is not Supreme

Supreme Court fails to uphold the law
Some suggestions to Chief Justice of India Is it that the Laws & Rules need to remain only on paper?
Unprincipled Amendments to Consumer Protection Act


A big question mark about the relevance of the judiciary in safeguarding the consumer
(Council's Curative Petition dismissed)

         In India, consumers have been at the receiving end since long.  One thought that things will change for the better after the Consumer Protection Act was enacted in 1986 and a structured approach was adopted to promote and safeguard the interests of the consumers.  But after 2004, things have gone from bad to worse.  Commencing from the castration of the Central Consumer Protection Council, the relevance of the consumer Act itself has been brought into question.  If the government is found wanting and none too serious to strengthen this voluntary initiative of the individuals to do their bit for a healthy society, which in any case is bound to benefit the industry, its competitiveness and the country as a whole, myopic approach only appear to rule the roost, as on date.

         Important amendments which were brought in 2003 to the Consumer Protection Act, with a clear objective of penalising Unfair Trade Practices and to compensate the consumer/litigant adequately have been frustrated by the indifferent approach of the National Commission as well as the Supreme Court.  That is why, giving the benefit of doubt to the bench which did not do justice to the issues placed before it by Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela, and to take the issues pursued by it to the logical end, Curative Petition was filed.  The GROUNDS categorically illustrate the denial of “Natural Justice” to the Petitioner Council and the failure of the Court in addressing the issues raised in the “Appeal”.  Rupa Ashok Hurra case specifically has laid “Violation of Principles of Natural justice” as the valid ground for considering a Curative Petition.  Question is whether a narrow view of non-issue of notice alone should be taken as the requisite ground for allowing the Appeal or blatant denial to consider the Grounds of Appeal by the concerned bench should be treated alike, in the larger interests of justice?  If this anomaly is not addressed, Curative Petitions will only be found useful when the media start highlighting an issue, like the LGBT case – leading to the strength of the population deciding the outcome of the Curative Petition.  This does not augur well for a civilized democratic country.

         Learned ex-Justice of Gujarat & Rajasthan High Courts, Sri M.R.Calla, and designated Sr. Advocate of the Supreme Court had unequivocally advocated for allowing the Curative Petition of the Council, pointing out the gross miscarriage of justice and denial of natural justice.  But that has not appealed to the Supreme Court bench headed by the CJI, who have dismissed the Curative Petition, as per the Order made available on the internet today. 

            Something needs to be done to address and to save the people from this hyper-technical approach of the Supreme Court and to promote the consumer movement, which is after all in the best interests of the nation.  Will Shri Narendra Modi and his government do something to stem this rot?

**************


How can the Supreme Court pass an irrelevant order?

'Consumer justice is your right'

Fleece the consumer and go scot-free

 Finish the consumer movement?
www.moneylife.in/finish-the-consumer-movement

Almost all the LPG bottling plants have been modernised
 

CPC, Rourkela celebrates its Silver Jubilee
 

Silver Jubilee of the Consumer Protection Act celebrated
 

Union Minister feels that self regulation has failed to control unethical advertisements
 

Dr. Kalam calls upon the nation to work towards elimination of spurious drugs



Consumer groups hold consultations to tackle spurious drugs
 

Consultations on FDI in Retail held
 

New legislation for curbing misleading advertisements opposed
 

13th SCPC Meeting held at Bhubaneswar
 

Workshop recommends amendments to CP Act
 

Seminar on Effective Grievance Redressal in Telecom Sector, held in Agartala
 

Consumer Courts can adjudicate telecom disputes
 

Complaint Page with new additions
 

RBI's notification on Credit Card

  A consumer organisation with a difference Instead of rendering advisory services alone, the Council since its inception, in 1985, has been taking up issues affecting them through the consumer courts and other means and feels proud to have provided relief to crores of people.  These include:

  • Remedial action against short filling of LPG in cooking gas refills; of the 184 LPG Bottling Plants, of the three Oil Marketing Companies (IOC, BP & HP), only 4 remain to be automated.  Even these will be modernised within the next financial year 2013-14).  The quantified loss of nearly Rs. 750 crores per year to the consumers across the country has been taken care by this upgradation.  Thanks to the Council's Original Petition initiatied in 2001, before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
  • Won an important case against the Rourkela Development Authority and secured financial relief for a group of individuals, against violation of Plan & Specifications in the construction of the houses and delay in handing over the possession.
  • Obtained a separate District Forum for Rourkela, though it is not the district headquarters, which otherwise necessitated the entire Rourkela population to approach the Forum, situated at Sundergarh, a place 100 km away;
  • Re-routing of Dhanbad-Alleppey Express train through Chennai Central;
  • Campaigned against non transferring of excise duty concessions (to the consumers) extended by the union government to the industry;
  • Better upkeep of the railway coaches of Utkal Kalinga Express and other trains;
  • Reintroduction AC Chair Car in Ispat Express;
  • Refunding of booking advance by M/s APSL and M/s LML; and many more. 
   It will not be an exaggeration to add that its activities have added to the confidence of the Rourkela population, against unethical business practices.

     The fifth Voluntary Consumer Organisation in the country to have set up a Consumer Information Centre, with the support of Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Govt. of India. Has earned a niche for creating consumer awareness and handling of individual as well as group/class grievances. It is bringing out an English monthly Advantage Consumer, to educate the consumers. It is represented in various Advisory bodies.

An Aware Consumer is an Asset to the Nation

     Through this site effort will be made to disseminate all relevant information and answers to many of the queries which are frequently asked. Knowledge is power and ignorance is the root cause of all exploitation. As a consumer, we hope you will find the site quite useful. Since ours is a voluntary organisation with meagre resources we have designed the site on our own and are sure there will be lot of scope to improve. As such we invite the public and the visitors to this site to communicate their valuable feedback, so that we may improve the contents of this site. 

     Lots & Lots of information in store for you to tap, in the Information Section.  Why wait to click on Information.

    If you are keen to support the Council, you may send in your donations through crossed Cheques/Demand Drafts, drawn in favour of "Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela". All donations to the Council are exempted under sec. 80G of the Income Tax Act. The Council is also registered under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).



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Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela
Chief Mentor: vaidya@advantageconsumer.com