Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said a new consumer protection law is on the anvil to crackdown on misleading ads and ensure that grievances are redressed in a time-bound and cost effective manner. He also said the government has enacted a new GST law which will benefit consumers in the long run as prices would come down because of competition among manufacturers. “Today we are in the process of enacting a new Consumer Protection Act keeping in view business practices and requirements of the country. The proposed Act lays great emphasis on consumer empowerment,” he said. “Stringent provisions are proposed against misleading advertisements. A Central Consumer Protection Authority with executive powers will be constituted for quick remedial action,” he added. The government is coming up with this new law, replacing the Consumer Protection Act 1986, which will incorporate the revised 2015 UN guidelines on consumer protection. “Protection of consumer interests is a priority of the government. This is also reflected in our resolution of the New India. Moving beyond Consumer Protection, New India will have Best Consumer Practices and Consumer Prosperity,” Modi said.
He highlighted that the government in the last three years has launched many programmes like new real estate law, new BIS Act, UJJWALA scheme, DBT (direct benefit transfer) that would not only empower consumers but result in huge savings. Consumer protection is among the government’s key priorities, he said, adding that it has recently enacted the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is bringing in a new business culture across the country. “In the long term, GST will benefit only consumer. Consumers will not be cheated as they become more aware of this law,” he said, adding that consumers can now see on receipts the tax they are paying to the Centre and states.
Modi also said the GST would encourage competition among companies that would results in fall in prices of goods, benefiting poor and middle-class consumers. The time reduction in transportation of goods would also lead to fall in prices and this benefit will also be transferred to consumers, he said. “Due to GST, various indirect and hidden taxes have ceased to exist. The biggest beneficiaries of GST will be the consumers, middle class,” he said. Inflation has been brought down significantly in the last three years and this has also helped in consumer saving, he added.
Modi said the government has enacted a new Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act to protect home buyers interest. The RERA legislation would protect buyers from builders monopoly, he said while highlighting key provisions of this real estate law. Modi said a buyer can book flat with 10 per cent booking amount from the earlier up to 40 per cent. The developer will not be able to divert fund as 70 per cent of the money has to be kept in an escrow account.
He said effective grievance redressal systems are vital for a democracy and therefore the government is integrating technology to ensure stronger grievance redressal mechanisms. Stating that the scope of Consumer Protection is very broad in the vision of the government, Modi said: “Development of any country and consumer protection are complementary. Good governance has an important role in taking the benefits of development to every citizen.”