Pointing at the lack of awareness among people about the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), Project Director, Consultancy Project, IIPA, CCS, New Delhi, Dr Suresh Misra said that majority of consumers neither had information about the Act nor were aware about its operations.
Speaking at the validation workshop and awareness programme on ‘Consumers in electricity regulation’ on Tuesday, jointly organised by JSS Law College, JSS College for Women, Indian Institute of Public Administration, Centre for Consumer Studies, New Delhi and Consumer Rights Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT), Bengaluru, Dr Misra quoted findings of his survey which revealed that only 26 percent people claimed of having knowledge about the Act, of which only one percent knowing its operational process.
“People are yet to understand their consumer rights. Electricity is the major sector wherein people need to be made educated as many people don’t know where to complaint if any problem arises. There was surge in complaints with regard to electricity issues at the District Forums which could be easily solved at the electricity department itself,” he added.
Dr Misra further added that there were loopholes in the present Act as it was framed 30 years ago. As it was failing to cater the needs of 21st century, the cabinet hadapproved a new Consumer Protection Bill 2015 which will be introduced in the next session of the parliament. “The new Act will bring a radical change with its comprehensive framework for protection of consumer interest and will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986,” he said. The Consumer Protection Act 1986 was amended thrice earlier in 1991, 1993 and 2002.
The bill also had several provisions aimed at simplifying the consumer dispute resolution process, Dr Misra added.
Citing the findings of his study conducted last year to evaluate the functioning of Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) and Ombudsman and awareness about the same, member, CREAT, Y G Muralidharan said that only a few people thought electricity to be a commodity and their understanding of Consumer Protection Act was restricted to only electronics and edible products.
Additional Director, Collegiate Education, JSSMVP, Mysuru, Dr Mruthyunjaya P Kulenoor, Principal, JSS College for Women, Mysuru, Dr K V Suresha and others were present.