Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011

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    In News

    • The Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has omitted Rule 5 of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities), Rules 2011 to safeguard the interest of consumers.
      • Rule 5 defines Schedule II prescribing the pack sizes of various types of commodities

    Proposed Amendment

    • The amendments are to come into effect from 1st April 2022.
    • Amendment to ensure that consumers are able to make an informed choice and reduce compliance for industries.
      • For reducing the compliance burden and removing the ambiguity of declaration of the date on pre-packaged commodities for consumers, the declaration has now been required to the month and year in which the commodity is manufactured for the pre-packed commodities.
    • Mandatory declaration of MRP in Indian currency inclusive of all taxes on pre-packed products.
    • Declaration of date of manufacture on the pre-packaged commodities is made mandatory for pre-packaged commodities under the revised rules. 
    • Rules for declaring the commodities sold in pre-packed commodities in numbers have been eased out to reduce the compliance burden for manufacturer /importer/packer. 

    Significance

    • These amendments will enhance consumer protection.
    • Ease of Doing Business will be enabled more.
    • It will also ensure that law is at pace with the changing technology.
    • Compliance burden reduced on manufacturer and importer.
    • Declaring commodities sold in a pre-packed manner will remove the ambiguity of declaration of quantity.

     

    (Image Courtesy: Consumer Affairs )

    Consumer Rights

    • Right to Safety:
      • Means the right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services, which are hazardous to life and property. The purchased goods and services availed of should not only meet their immediate needs but also fulfil long term interests.
      • Before purchasing, consumers should insist on the quality of the products as well as on the guarantee of the products and services. They should preferably purchase quality marked products such as ISI, AGMARK, etc.
    •  Right to be Informed:
      • Means the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices.
      • Consumers should insist on getting all the information about the product or service before making a choice or a decision. This will enable him to act wisely and responsibly and also enable him to desist from falling prey to high pressure selling techniques.
    • Right to Choose:
      • Means right to be assured, wherever possible of access to a variety of goods and services at competitive price. In case of monopolies, it means the right to be assured of satisfactory quality and service at a fair price. It also includes the right to basic goods and services. This is because the unrestricted right of the minority to choose can mean a denial for the majority of its fair share. This right can be better exercised in a competitive market where a variety of goods are available at competitive prices
    •  Right to be Heard:
      • Means that consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. It also includes the right to be represented in various forums formed to consider the consumer’s welfare.
      • The Consumers should form non-political and non-commercial consumer organizations which can be given representation in various committees formed by the Government and other bodies in matters relating to consumers.
    • Right to Seek redressal:
      • Means right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. It also includes the right to fair settlement of the genuine grievances of the consumer.
      • Consumers must make complaints for their genuine grievances. Many times their complaint may be of small value but its impact on society as a whole may be very large. They can also take the help of consumer organisations in seeking redressal of their grievances.
    • Right to Consumer Education:
      • Means the right to acquire the knowledge and skill to be an informed consumer throughout life. Ignorance of consumers, particularly of rural consumers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. They should know their rights and must exercise them. Only then real consumer protection can be achieved with success.

    Way Ahead

    • The consumer affairs department is still tied up with the food and public distribution department. A dedicated consumer affairs ministry is the need of the hour to have a determined focus to safeguard various rights of consumers.
    • Further in the age of false and puffed-up advertisements, penal provisions relating to misleading and false advertisements have to be installed at the earliest.
    • If we use products and services having less impact on the environment, probably, future generations might be safeguarded from deadly pandemics like Covid-19.

    Legal Metrology Act, 2009

    • The Department of Consumer Affairs, administers the Legal Metrology Act 2009.
    • The act provides for the application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments.
    • The objective of Legal Metrology is to ensure public guarantee from the point of view of security and accuracy of the weights and measurements.
    • The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities), Rules 2011 are primarily intended to ensure that the consumers are able to make informed choices by being informed of essential declarations on the pre-packed commodities.

    Source: PIB