Govt to make adulteration of milk a serious crime
The government will amend the Food Safety and Standards Act to make adulteration of milk and food items a serious crime punishable with a harsh penalty.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told Rajya Sabha that his ministry had decided to amend the Act in the light of a recent Supreme Court observation that had sought ‘appropriate amendments’ in the Act so that ‘such type of crimes could be curbed’. He also admitted that adulterated milk was adversely affecting the health of people.
The apex court had suggested that the crime of adulteration of milk be made punishable with life imprisonment.
Consumers can now choose their international long-distance operator
Telecom regulator Trai has fixed the rate payable by international long-distance operators (ILDO) to local operators. Access charges have been fixed at 40 paise per minute for wireless services and Rs 1.20 per minute for wireline services. Access charges for ISDs are paid by ILDOs to local players.
Under the current regime, a consumer does not enjoy the option of choosing their ILDO and is dependent on access providers. Under the new regulation, customers can buy calling cards from any ILDO and get the advantage of competition.
Hospital to pay Rs 20 lakh to girl who lost right arm
The Supreme Court has ordered a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the parents of a girl whose right arm was amputated due to negligence in a Bangalore hospital where she was under treatment for pneumonia. She was two when the incident took place in Manipal Hospital in August 2002. While administering intravenous fluid to her in the intensive care unit, the needle was wrongly inserted into the artery instead of the vein, blocking blood supply to the forearm. This resulted in gangrene and eventually the amputation.
A bench of justices MY Eqbal and Arun Mishra said: “Although the sufferings, agony and pain which the girl child will carry cannot be compensated in terms of money, in our view a compensation of Rs 20 lakh will be just and reasonable.”
The Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had awarded Rs 5 lakh and the National Commission confirmed the sum. The parents, Alfred Benddict and wife, then moved the Supreme Court.
Current set-up not fully able to address consumer grievances
Government is considering a proposal to make the three-tier consumer redressal mechanism an ‘authority’ as the current set-up has not been fully able to address consumer grievances.
Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan informed Lok Sabha that many complaints lodged in consumer fora – district fora, state commissions and National Disputes Redressal Commission – continued to drag for years without any outcome.
The Minister said the government would appoint the members of the proposed consumer authority through State Public Service Commission at state level and through Union Public Service Commission at national level.