The Hindu, December 22, 2012

Only 0.3 per cent of consumers have ever filed complaints at various consumer complaint forums across the country. This fact was revealed during a consumer awareness and outreach programme organised here. The feedback meeting for the Grassroots Reachout and Networking in Rajasthan through Consumer Action (GRANIRCA), was organised by non-profit organisation Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS).
“Rajasthan ranks 18th in terms of awareness on consumer rights among various States in the country as per State of the Indian Consumer Report-2012,” said Ashok R. Patil, Professor, Consumer Law & Practice, National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
Dr. Patil was delivering the keynote address during the final State-level feedback meeting convened by CUTS.
“The biggest challenges before consumers in Rajasthan are the lack of awareness about consumer protection laws and making the three-tier quasi-judicial consumer grievance redress forums accessible and workable for rural consumers and extending it below the district level,” said CUTS International director George Cheriyan.
He emphasised the need for constituting the State Consumer Protection Council in Rajasthan and separation of consumer affairs from the Food & Civil Supplies Department in the State in order for consumer issues to get the required attention.
The GRANIRCA module, covering 12 districts in Rajasthan, was launched in January 2010 for a period of three years with the objective of strengthening the consumer movement and developing consumer activists at the grassroots level through intensive training, capacity building and orientation programmes on consumer protection and rights.
“Constitution of district consumer protection councils, filing up of vacant positions at district consumer forums, appointment of persons with legal experience as District Forum presidents, constitution of district level PDS vigilance committees in all 33 districts, initiation of State consumer helpline by Rajasthan Government are some of the achievements of GRANIRCA,” said project coordinator Amarjeet Singh.
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