Formality of celebrating Consumers Day on 15th March

MADHU AGRAWAL
(Guinness Record Holder for letters in Newspapers)
Union and state governments fulfil formality of celebrating Consumers Day on 15th March every year by spending too much on photo-publicity of political rulers through costly newspaper-advertisements ignoring small but essential suggestions/grievances to safeguard consumers’ interests.

Both Union Finance ministry and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have failed to take concrete steps to remove shortage of one and five rupee coins for which consumers are forced to take unwanted items like candies. Unpopular two-rupee coins are available in plenty with false and gimmick data of their ‘increasing’ popularity is created by forcing two-rupee coin bags because of non-availability of one and five rupee coin-bags which are otherwise openly available at high premium of 15-20 percent. Better is to stop minting two-rupee coins and concentrate on minting more one-rupee coins. size of which can be further reduced.

Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs apart from taking matter of coin-shortage with Union Finance ministry and RBI, should itself eliminate gimmick packing-sizes by having uniform pack-size only in units 1, 2, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 or 500 gms or mltrs, and then in 1, 2, 5 or multiples of 5 kgs or ltrs only. Unfortunately despite metric-system introduced more than fifty years ago, commodities are still packed in dozens and gross. Even commonly used medicines other than to be packed by dose-wise administration should also be packed in metric-units.

Presently items like soap-cakes and shaving creams are packed in units like 70 or 75 gms to look like packs of 100 gms. Commonly advertised medicines like cough-lozenges are packed in strips of eight instead of ten lozenges because consumers compare prices per strip. Above suggested system will avoid need to print ‘Unit Price’ which at many times is misused by retailer for excessive overcharge by putting sticker on ‘Maximum Retail Price’. Best is to extend ‘Right To Information Act’ to private sector.

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