13 March 2004, The Hindu

NEW DELHI, MARCH 12. Lauding the exemplary role of non-government organisations in inculcating consumer awareness and proposing to augment the consumer grievance redressal machinery, the Secretary in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MOCA), Navin Chawla, today assured an active government involvement in espousing consumer causes and called for a mass movement to help remove consumer apathy.

Releasing a book titled “Is it really safe?” at a function organised by CUTS, a premier consumer rights organisation in the backdrop of World Consumers Day on March 15, Mr. Chawla told the audience comprising leading consumer activists and safety experts that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs would act as a “catalyst in hastening the process of consumer welfare and would endeavour to involve various schools, colleges and universities to meet this noble objective.”

Citing the example of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Mr. Chawla said, “The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has received a deluge of applications from hundreds of schools in these states seeking help in setting up consumer clubs. Steps are being taken to ensure that this enthusiasm is spread all over India.” He invited CUTS and other NGOs to help the Ministry in this regard and appreciated their efforts in the dissemination of consumer-friendly information.

“Is it really safe?” is a compendium of articles on the safety of commonly used products and services and is aimed at the middle and lower middle class consumers.

Hailing the efforts of CUTS in generating awareness on consumer safety issues, noted Transport safety expert and Henry Ford Professor for Transportation Safety at IIT, Dinesh Mohan, called for the need of evolving “efficient designing and engineering as a tool to guide human behaviour rather merely sermonising on safety issues”. He buttressed the point by citing the example of IIT where a speed breaker was provided at every 80 metres to control the rate of accidents when all other efforts in that direction had failed.