All business operations are centered on the customer. It is believed that the consumer is the king of the market in the current world. Business operations are conducted to fulfill consumer demands. A business is entirely dependent on its customers, both for survival and for expansion. Right now, the consumer is prioritized above everything else, and every effort is made to meet their needs. The situation of the consumer is actually different. It resembles a servant. It is taken advantage of by well-organized and knowledgeable sellers who raise their prices, provide inferior items, or even provide contaminated goods, shot weight, false advertising, etc. Customers are still disorganized and unaware of their fundamental rights, such as the right to safety, the ability to make choices, the right to be heard, etc.
Since numerous unethical business tactics were being used by the sellers, the Indian consumer movement was born out of discontent with the customers.
Manu Smriti, who lived in ancient India, established a few key tenets to protect consumers’ interests. Manu Smriti established a code of behavior for merchants that included provisions for adulteration, short weight, set profits, and other issues. Every good had a sale price or market price that was determined by the king. Every six months, all weights and measures were examined, and the findings of these examinations were recorded.
It is noteworthy that such effective consumer protection tools have emerged at such a young stage of settlement. Even during the Mughal era in India, royal granaries that had extra food were expected to provide food during a crisis. Even trading profiteering was restricted. The main focus of British mercantilist laws on contracts in colonial India. The ruling class throughout the British era was mercantilist. The majority of consumers in this period were low-income.
Post-Independence (1950 to 1975)
India was able to concentrate on creating its own laws for the benefit of the nation during the post-Independence era. Planning Commission supported the enactment of Indian Consumers Laws in 1956, but they were ultimately unsuccessful. India fought wars with Pakistan and China in the years 1962 and 1965, respectively. India began to experience food shortages and a lack of basic necessities at this point due to skyrocketing prices and widespread unrest.
The establishment of the food rationing system occurred during the same time frame. To regulate prices and supply, a network of consumer cooperative stores including Super Bazaars was established with government assistance. Chain coffee shops operated by the coffee workers corporation were becoming more prevalent. One important women’s movement, the Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI), was established in 1966. Voluntary consumer associations were started all across the country, including Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, which swiftly linked 25–32 thousand families.
SETTING UP OF CONSUMER COURTS:
A network of consumer courts was first established in 1988 as a result of litigation in the Supreme Court case Common Cause vs UOI & Ors, which was followed by a deluge of cases in the 1990s. During this time, an effort was made to establish national organizations like CICO and CCC. The Public Distribution System and Consumer Affairs have been assigned by the State’s Ministry of Civil Supplies.
India has recently seen an increase in the number of consumer groups. With the help of all these initiatives, the movement was able to put pressure on the government and business organizations to change any business practices that might be unfair or against the interests of all consumers. A major step taken in 1986 by the Indian government was the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, popularly known as COPRA.
THE PERIOD OF 2000:
The year 2000 marked a significant turning point in India. Campaigns such as Jago Grahak Jago was adopted during this period to spread consumer awareness. This campaign had such a significant influence that public sector businesses began establishing processes for listening to customer complaints. The first companies to implement this approach for consumer complaints were LIC, petroleum corporations, and power utilities.
Creating an ombudsman was an efficient way to operate in the banking, insurance, and electricity industries. Then, private businesses began to use this system as well. It is required by law to print the consumers’ helpline number on the packaging; this number must be functional and accessible during business hours. India has embraced the global standard ISO 10000 Suite.
On August 9, 2019, the President signed this new Act into law. The 2019 Act has been enacted for the purpose of providing timely and effective administration. It gives consumers greater protection After discussing the history of consumer protection in India, it is important to note that on August 6, 2019, the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in Parliament to replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. while taking into account the rapidly expanding e-commerce industry. The new Act broadens the definition of “consumer” by including clients of E-commerce companies within its purview.
The concept of unfair trade practices has expanded since the 1986 Act, and now includes things like issuing bills or memos for goods and services, failing to accept defective goods for return, withholding refund amounts, and disclosing personal information in a manner that is not permitted by law.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
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