The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Govt of India in collaboration with Government of Uttar Pradesh and Sate Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Uttar Pradesh organized a day-long workshop on “How to effectively address grievances of consumers in the present era’’ at Lucknow today. 

The event aimed to address the critical issues faced by consumers pertaining to the financial sector, real estate sector, medical negligence, on-line shopping and others and the role of consumer commissions in their proper and effective redressal.

Hon’ble Justice Mr. Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, President NCDRC, Shri Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary Department of Consumer Affairs, Hon’ble Justice Mr. Ashok Kumar, President SCDRC, Shri Anupam Mishra, Joint Secretary Department of Consumer Affairs amongst Presidents and Members of various State and District Commissions attended the workshop.

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Shri Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Govt. of India, underlined the 4 major key mandates of Department viz. food inflation management, assurance of quality through BIS, assurance of quantity through legal metrology and further asserted effective enforcement of law to protect interest of consumers.

Shri Singh highlighted the recent steps taken by Department for fostering consumer rights and avert the sale of unsafe goods to consumers on online platform vis a vis fake reviews along with measures to prevent dark patterns such as deceptively taking consent of consumers, false claims of greenwashing for promoting the sale of products, pesky calls, misleading ads by coaching institutes with respect to selection of candidates, surrogate advertisements and to address the practice of planned obsolescence and restricting the access to repair Department is working on Right to Repair.

He also highlighted the efforts being undertaken by the Department for redressal of consumer grievances at pre-litigation stage through National Consumer Helpline, an omni channel system like call center, umang app, NCH app etc. which is now being integrated on whatsApp service too. Now with evolution of time NCH is addressing more than 1 lakh grievances in 17 languages. He also appreciated the efforts undertaken by various commissions leading to in a circumstances where disposal of cases is more than filing of case

During the workshop, Hon’ble Justice Mr. Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, President, NCDRC emphasized the need of adopting the new technology so that the consumer cases could be dealt with in a effective manner in the changing global scenario. He further shared his valuable insight to effectively deal with consumer grievances and also by addressing the issues of product liability.

Hon'ble Justice Shri Ashok Kumar, President, State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Uttar Pradesh highlighted the importance of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 for protecting the rights of consumers. Further, it was underlined that majority of the litigants are from low income group and thereby to achieve the goal of legislation to provide hassle free and speedy justice to the consumers is more essential. He further, highlighted the various efforts being undertaken by the UPSCDRC for hassel free and speedy disposal of cases and also appealed to adopt these simple steps.

The role of Consumer Commissions in reducing the pendency of cases and effective redressal of grievances to consumers plays a pivotal role. The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, has made a remarkable disposal of more than 100% in the years 2022. The same trend continues in the year 2023, notably, in October and December, the disposal rate at NCDRC was at 200% i.e. double the number of cases are being disposed than filed. The Uttar Pradesh State Consumer Commission maintained a remarkable disposal rate of above 200% in the past two year i.e. the number cases disposed are more than double the number of cases filed. In the last two years, the numbers of cases disposed by UP State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission were higher than any other State Commission. The cases disposed by the UPSCDRC was at 5137 in 2022 and 5692 in 2023.

During the workshop, two panel discussions took place, focusing on crucial aspects of consumer protection in sectors including finance, real estate, medical negligence and online shopping. These sessions were presided over the Hon’ble President NCDRC and Secretary DOCA.

The workshop concluded with the participating Presidents and Members of State and District Commissions committing to working together to strengthen consumer redressal mechanisms in their respective jurisdictions. The Department of Consumer Affairs will continue to collaborate with Consumer Commissions to ensure the effective implementation of consumer protection laws, regulations, and initiatives for the betterment of consumers in the State and across the Country.

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