Jagat S. Mehta
Former Foreign Secretary of India
Thanks to an old acquaintanceship with Pradeep S. Mehta, I came into contact with CUTS fairly early. The fact that he utilised his old family property near Chittorgarh for a public-spirited purpose impressed me. (CUTS Centre for Human Development is located here). Not many of us make such gestures even in a village homestead.
Pradeep recognised that the democratic system of government places obligations on all citizens to contribute in diverse ways to strengthen the working of the system to optimise welfare of the people: it cannot all be left to the government or the state. The market forces may govern economics but the system requires to be supplemented by non-official and intellectual vigilance against manipulation. Systematic efforts can expose the exploitation of consumers. This we all assume but some people like Pradeep, who work as pro bono publico, redeem this duty.
Protecting the consumer is not easy: it requires not only study, compilation of statistics, comparison with costs, research of the national market but also following the international trading developments, economic forces and multilateral conferences.
The CUTS periodicals are a proof of this sustained and systematic effort. In 20 years, CUTS has made people aware of deception regarding quality and pricing and so eased the scope of exploitation. It has served to safeguard against advertisements and persuasions, which are wholly or partly false. CUTS has also provided a forum for complaints and contributed to benefits and amelioration.
CUTS is thus, doing a national service. This helps us all, but it is particularly important for the poor with limited purchasing power. They may not be receiving their publications but they are beneficiaries. CUTS is noblesse oblige of the educated for the disadvantaged.