In Rajasthan only 16% consumers are aware about consumer rights

Rajasthan is still behind in generating awareness about consumer rights, only 16% respondents are aware about consumer rights in Rajasthan as compared to India (42%). Only 20% respondents and only 11% respondents have heard about Consumer Protection Act 1986 at the national level and in Rajasthan respectively. Out of the total sample size only 7 percent have filed any complaint in any of the external grievance redressal mechanism and out of that only 0.3% has only approached the consumer forums. If this is an indication of people losing faith in the consumer fora at District, State and National level, due to the inordinate delays, then the tread is very disturbing said George Cheriyan, Director, CUTS International sharing the findings from National Consumer field research disseminated among key stakeholders on Sept. 13, 2012 organised by Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) in Jaipur.

This was organised under CUTS project entitled ‘Indian Consumers in the New Age: A Forward Looking Agenda to Address the Concerns of the Common People’ (ConsumersUp) in partnership with Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India

George in his opening address said that the main objective of the project is to bring out a credible report on the ‘State of the Indian Consumer Report 2012’. The field research covered 88 districts of 19 states and 3 union territories with a total sample size of 11,499 (53%Male & 47% Female) to access the level of consumer awareness and the achievements made by the consumers in India during the past 25 years since Consumer Protection Act 1986 came into force. The respondents belong to diverse education and financial status, rural and urban divide and literacy rate. Apart from common consumers, responses of service providers, consumer organisation, consumer fora and government agencies/authorities related to consumer issues were collected under the research. He stated that findings are still encouraging since five years before the consumer awareness was just 18%.

Mr M.L. Mehta President, CUTS & Former Chief Secretary, Rajasthan chaired the meeting and stated in his special address that the knowledge of law is not wide spread, people are not getting time to seek grievance. Right to live is of no use unless one have right to livelihood and basic needs. He emphasised on scientific research and advocacy and said knowledge should be spread through schools and underlined the need to put more money to create awareness and research.

Project Officer, Abhimanyu Singh made the presentation highlighting key findings of the research. He shared that in the study it was found that in Rajasthan only 29% respondents are satisfied with the present Grievance Redressal Mechanism and 09% believe that it is empowered to compensate aggrieved consumer, about 01% respondents are using public distribution system (PDS) as preferred source for food grains, Lack of awareness among people (90%) is the most important reason followed by Lack of interest among People (09%) for not participating in public consultation or consumer representation in government platforms, only 21% respondents are fully satisfied with Government’s effort to ensure ensure adequacy, accessibility and affordability of basic needs. 98% respondents have never actually made a formal complaint, while only 0.1% respondents have registered their grievance with the company/ producer. Only 1% respondents have approached consumer forums for grievance redressal, while only 0.1% of the respondent have approached sector ombudsman for redressal.

The consultation was attended by about 40 participants comprising of representatives from State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission and District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums; Sr. officials from RERC, RBI, TRAI, BIS, SEBI and other regulators, consumer originations, policy maker, print and electronic media who provided their inputs on the study findings. The inputs will be incorporated in the State of the Indian Consumer Report 2012 which will be formally released in the National Conclave at Delhi on Oct. 11, 2012.

For more details contact:
Jai Shree Soni (8559926355)/Abhimanyu Singh (8107794315)
CUTS Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS CART)
222, Sindhi Colony, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, India.