Quan­tity, man­u­fac­tur­ing date, price to get 40 per cent of dis­play on pack­ets

Consumer Voice - - In Thebfsinews&i -

The govern­ment has amended norms to make it manda­tory for pack­aged-food man­u­fac­tur­ing firms to dis­play name of man­u­fac­ture/pack­ager/im­porter, net quan­tity of prod­uct, man­u­fac­tur­ing date, re­tail sale price and con­sumer-care con­tacts more promi­nently in at least 40 per cent of the packet area.

The new guide­lines, is­sued last year (May 2015) by the depart­ment of con­sumer af­fairs, fol­low­ing an amend­ment to the Le­gal Metrol­ogy (Pack­aged Com­modi­ties) Rules, 2011, will be ef­fec­tive from July. The depart­ment will es­tab­lish a mon­i­tor­ing cell to en­sure strict com­pli­ance with the new pro­vi­sion. The rea­son for the change, ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment, is that con­sumers should be able to read the information eas­ily.

The union min­is­ter of con­sumer af­fairs, food & pub­lic dis­tri­bu­tion Ram Vi­las Paswan has said that his min­istry was set­ting up a quick re­sponse sys­tem to at­tend to con­sumer com­plaints and gear­ing up the ex­ist­ing Na­tional Con­sumer Helpline for the pur­pose. Paswan ex­pressed his hope that the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act would be passed by par­lia­ment in the sec­ond part of the Bud­get ses­sion.

Re­view­ing the work­ing of Bureau of In­dian Stan­dards (BIS) dur­ing the gov­ern­ing body meet­ing, Paswan asked the Bureau to for­mu­late rules to en­sure early im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new BIS Act so that a cul­ture of qual­ity goods and ser­vices could be ush­ered in. He fur­ther men­tioned that BIS had taken var­i­ous ini­tia­tives un­der ‘Make in In­dia’ for stan­dard for­mu­la­tion which in­cluded items re­lat­ing to re­new­able en­ergy, bio-fuel, auto com­po­nents, electric ma­chin­ery, etc.

Celebri­ties may be jailed for mis­lead­ing ads

In an ef­fort to pro­tect con­sumer in­ter­ests and make celebri­ties ac­count­able for mis­lead­ing ads, a par­lia­men­tary stand­ing com­mit­tee on con­sumer af­fairs has rec­om­mended strin­gent pro­vi­sions. Among other things, the com­mit­tee has in­cluded jail term up to five years and hefty penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh in its sug­ges­tions.

“The com­mit­tee strongly feels that mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a prod­uct es­pe­cially of food prod­uct should be taken very se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing the in­flu­ence of celebri­ties and high net­worth in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies. The ex­ist­ing laws are not de­ter­rent enough to dis­cour­age man­u­fac­tur­ers or pub­lish­ers from us­ing such per­son­al­i­ties for mis­lead­ing ads,” the panel said in its re­port.

In its re­port on the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Bill, 2015, tabled in the par­lia­ment, the panel has sug­gested le­gal teeth to ad­ver­tis­ing watch­dog Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Coun­cil of In­dia (ASCI) to curb mis­lead­ing ads. It has also pro­posed se­vere penal­ties, jail and can­cel­la­tion of li­cense of those in­volved in food adul­ter­ation. More­over, the com­mit­tee has ad­vo­cated that the depart­ment of con­sumer af­fairs should be em­pow­ered to make laws to reg­u­late the grow­ing sec­tors of e-com­merce, di­rect sell­ing and multi-level mar­ket­ing where con­sumer com­plaints are on the rise.

The govern­ment in­tro­duced the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Bill, 2015, in the Lok Sabha in Au­gust last year to re­peal the 30-year-old Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act. The panel’s re­port will be stud­ied be­fore fi­nal pas­sage of the bill in par­lia­ment.

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