New Delhi: The Government will launch a countrywide campaign along with voluntary consumer organizations to create mass consumer awareness which will also include capacity building training for safe and hygienic food. Addressing the consumer day celebrations here today with the theme “Safe & Healthy Food: Combating Food Adulteration, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food And Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan said that the initiative of his ministry will be taken to rural pockets which need more awareness about consumer rights. He expressed hope that the campaign will be successful in building a culture of food safety in the country with nationwide sensitisation sessions on cleaning, hygiene & sanitation for safe food.
Shri Paswan said that with opening up of the economy various consumer goods and services have entered into the Indian market. To meet the changed situation, we have introduced new Consumer Protection Bill and new Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Bill to prevent unfair trade practices, to effectively deal with adulteration of food, misleading advertisements and speed up the disposal, which will have far reaching implications. Proposed amendments will also enable swift executive intervention in the nature of class action both to prevent consumer detriment and to provide redressal to a class of consumers. More products concerning health, environment and safety will be brought under compulsory certification besides compulsory Hallmarking of Gold and Silver jewelry and recall of non-conforming Standard Marked goods from the market, the Minister added.
Shri Paswan said that to supplement the Government efforts to create effective consumer awareness, the industrial organization should come forward. He said self regulatory code should be evolved and implemented in sector like street food. Shri Paswan said his department is ready to be a partner in this venture. He asked BIS and FSSAI to review together existing food and safety regulations and to see how they can be made more effective in the interest of consumers.
Delivering the key note address on the occasion, Justice, D.K. Jain, President of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) expressed concern over increasing reports of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements. He said strict regulations are required to check these. He also suggested review of Packaged Commodity rules to safe guard the interests of consumers.
On the occasion Shri Ashish Bahuguna, Chairman, Food Safety Standards Authority of India delivered the theme address “Safe & Healthy Food: Combating Food Adulteration”. He said that consumer awareness is key to ensure effective implementation of Food and Safety standards, wherever necessary these standards will be reviewed and made more stringent, he added.
The Department had organized a poster making competition among school children on the theme consumer awareness. On the occasion cash prizes were given to the prize winning six school children. In addition, some publications useful to the consumers were released.
The National Consumer Rights Day is an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the national consumer movement and is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers.
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