Government is working on a new law to curb misleading advertisements and set up a central authority to look after fast-track redressal of consumers' grievances, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday .
The proposed law, awaiting Cabinet approval, provides for fine up to Rs 50 lakh on celebrities who are found doing misleading endorsement and also up to three years' ban, while manufacturers would face fine and jail term for similar offence.
Addressing an international conference on consumer protection, the PM indicated that the government would introduce the law, which has been in the works for more than three years, during the winter session of Parliament.
“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,“ the PM said. “Stringent provisions are proposed against misleading advertisements. A Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) with executive powers will be constituted for quick remedial action,“ he said. CCPA will be the first ever executive authority to take care of consumers' interests.While individual consumer complaints can be taken to the consumer commission, CCPA will have the power to initiate class action against a product or service, if it impacts a group or large section of consumers.
“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.
“We are changing the law to simplify the process of grievance redressal and for faster resolution. Consumers will be able to file cases in consumer commissions online and from the place of their residence rather than from the place of purchase,“ consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said.
Addressing the summit, UN Conference on Trade and Development secretary general Mukhisa Kituyi also made the case for protecting privacy of consumers considering great increase in online trade as data provided by consumers are being commodified for marketing purposes. He pressed on the need to nurture consumer privacy and empower vulnerable consumers with digital literacy amid growing online trade globally.