Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tomorrow inaugurate a global conference that will discuss about steps taken by Asian countries to implement the UN guidelines on consumer protection as well as challenges faced by consumers of financial services and e-commerce. Around 20 countries including China, South Korea, Singapore, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have confirmed their participation. Pakistan and North Korea have not been invited for the event. The United Nations (UN) had come out with guidelines on consumer protection in 1985. In the very next year in 1986, India became the first country to frame its own law, which is being replaced with a new one.
“In the conference, different countries will share about the way they are ensuring consumer protection and kind of legal framework put in place in view of challenges being faced by online consumers and those buying financial services,” a senior Consumer Affairs Ministry official said. The discussion will also be on how Asian countries can learn from each other’s experiences and if possible decide a mechanism to resolve consumer complaints at Asia level and also bilateral ties in this regard, the official added.
Although many of the participating countries do not have a separate law on consumer protection or a separate department, India is looking at learning best practices from Malaysia and others with regard to Alternative Dispute Redressal Mechanism. Since digital revolution has brought many new issues, the conference will also deliberate on different ways in which consumer education and empowerment are strengthened. The two-day event is being organised in association with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.