Economic Times, October 14, 2012

The Reserve Bank is the most known regulator followed by electricity and telecom sectoral watchdogs, TRAI and CERC, says a latest study by CUTS International.

“Awareness regarding regulatory bodies is limited to recognition of their names and knowledge about their basic mandate,” according to the study prepared by NGO CUTS International with support of the Consumer Affairs Ministry.

Geography-wise, the awareness regarding regulatory agencies is highest in northern and western region as compared to other three regions, it said.

The study also observed that “about 74 per cent of those who know these regulatory agencies have reported benefiting directly or indirectly from their regulations, while the remaining 26 per cent respondents do not agree to this”.

The survey “State of Indian Consumers 2012′ conducted in 22 states and union territories with a sample size of 11,499 highlighted that among eight regulators, RBI was widely known among people with 40 per cent respondents saying they recognise at least the name of the regulator.

The next in terms of people’s awareness were the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (27 per cent), Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (26 per cent), Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (25 per cent), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (24 per cent).

The least known regulators were Securities and Exchange Board of India and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (16 per cent each) and FMC (8 per cent), the study revealed.

On awareness about government laws that seek to protect consumers, the study said, only about 20 per cent were aware of the Consumer Protection Act or had heard about the act.

Awareness regarding consumer protection and related acts is highest in southern region as compared to other regions, it added.

“It is the best known act followed by Weights and Measures Act and Food Safety and Standards Act. Legal Metrology Act, Contract Act and Competition Act are the most uncommon acts recognised by least number of respondents,” the study said.

The purpose of the study was to understand the real status of the common consumers at grassroots with regard to level of awareness and in terms of realising the basic consumer rights, it added.

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