New Delhi: Initiating measures to strengthen consumer rights, the Central government said it will amend laws to set up a regulator to address consumer grievances and take penal action against defaulting companies, and also bring more products under the ambit of mandatory quality certification.
Amendments have been proposed to the Consumer Protection Act as well as the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986.
"We have decided to set up a consumer protection authority with independent powers to frame policies for protecting consumers rights and addressing their grievances," Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters while highlighting the achievements of his ministry in first 100 days of the government on Wednesday.
The proposed Authority will have all executive and enforcement powers for redressal of consumer grievances and penal action against defaulting companies, he said.
Laying importance of quality of products and services to make India an export hub, Paswan said, "Our Prime Minister has emphasised on ‘Make in India and Made in India'. To implement this in letter and spirit, there is a need to follow best quality standards."
Towards this direction, the Minister said that the government has decided to amend the BIS Act for expanding mandatory standards certification from existing 102 products and services to 2,300 items.
Asked if BIS is equipped to certify these many items, Consumer Affairs Secretary Keshav Desiraju said.
"You are right. We are looking at the possibility of self-certification," Desiraju said.
Besides adding more products under BIS certification, amendments will also include provisions for recalling products, raising penalty and reduction in long-process of litigation.
Terming misleading advertisements as "dangerous", Paswan said that an inter-ministerial group has been put in place for suggesting remedial measures.
The Consumer Affairs Ministry is also in the process of setting up a portal where consumers can lodge a complaint.