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  • Writer's pictureDeepti Dhande

World Consumer Rights Day

Today is the World Consumer Rights Day. It’s a day to create awareness about a consumer's rights and needs so that the consumer will never fall prey to any kind of social injustice. And because of that, this day holds huge importance. So, let’s understand this day better as we all are consumers in one way or another and this day is of utmost importance to all of us. The World Consumer Rights Day 2021 theme is to gather all the consumers in a fight to "Tackle Plastic Pollution".

The beginning of the consumer movement took place for the first time in Maharashtra, India in the year 1966. In 1974, the Grahak Panchayat was established in Pune and after that, this movement kept on growing each year. The Consumer Protection Bill was passed On 9 December 1986. There have been many modifications to the rules and each time it has been made while making consumer’s well-being into consideration. With all the new rules, there are multiple rights the consumer has received. Let’s take a look at them.

In earlier times if a person wanted to register a complaint, it was possible to do only where the goods manufacturing company's office was established but now they can do it in any commission. According to the updated rules, if there is a happening of food and drink adulteration, a prison sentence of 6 months is given along with the fine and if there has been a death because of the adulteration, then it is punishable with life imprisonment. When it came to online shopping, earlier the only platform to place the grievances was their own customer care platform but as E-commerce is also included in the new consumer law, the complaints against them also can be registered under the consumer rights law. To make this new implementation, even more, stronger, now the seller also comes under the scrutiny of this law and has to abide by it.

To bring better accountability to advertisements and people who endorse the products, now the celebrities can also be punished for misleading advertisements. There is a special organization to make sure that no advertisement is misleading the consumer into buying their product or service under Consumer Protection Act 2019. This organization is the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). ASCI is also in the process to start monitoring potential misleading and unauthentic advertisements that come on digital media. This will be a big step towards giving better justice to consumers and establish a marketplace that is more trustworthy.

The Right to information that is given to the customer is of extreme importance as he can ask for any information about the product or service and the respective organization will have to provide it. It creates much-needed transparency and makes consumers stronger than ever. Also, no company can pressurize the customer into buying their product or service. It’s all about consumers’ requirements, willingness, and convenience.

There is one more interesting angle to the World Consumer Rights Day. Each year this day has a different theme to it which addresses some social issue that is a threat to our society. This year’s theme is "Tackle Plastic Pollution" which is understandably important as we can see the adverse effects of exponentially increasing plastic pollution on our planet. And this is high time that we all take some serious action towards eradicating this evil that lurks upon us. Plastic is something that we use on an everyday basis and we are at a stage that it has almost become impossible to avoid its use. But as it’s not a decomposable material mostly or takes ages to get decomposed the issue of plastic pollution has been increasing and causing a threat to the health of humans and animals and the state of our environment. Taking all of this into consideration, the consumers international portal has made tackling Plastic Pollution a theme for this year's consumer rights day. They have collected photographs to show how the 7 'R's i.e. to replace, rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair are of the highest importance and can help us win the battle against plastic pollution.

Now that we know the importance of this day and how it helps us all, let’s take a pledge to give our best to follow this years’ consumer rights day theme and help in reducing this worldwide problem of Plastic Pollution.

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