A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for consideration.
What it cover?
It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.
What it doesn’t cover?
It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purposes.
Six consumer rights have been defined in the Bill, including the right to:
(i)Be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property. (ii)Be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; (iii) Be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices (iv) Seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
Functions of Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) :
CCPA shall promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.
The District CDRC will entertain complaints where the value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore.
The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but doesnot exceed Rs 10.
Why is this Bill significant?
Swift remedies: Presently consumers only have a single point of access to justice, which is time-consuming. Additional swift executive remedies are proposed in the bill through Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).
Deterrent punishment to check misleading advertisements and adulteration of products.
Product liability provision to deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services.
Ease of approaching Consumer Commission and Simplification of the Adjudication process.
Scope for early disposal of cases through mediation.
GS-II : Every child to get Rotavirus vaccine by September
Health Ministry has decided to provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all States and Union Territories by September 2019.
Diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers in children and Rotavirus was one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age.
Rotavirus vaccine along with proper sanitation, handwashing practices, ORS and zinc supplementation will go a long way in reducing the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea in children.
In India, every year, 37 out of every 1,000 children born are unable to celebrate their 5th birthday, and one of the major reasons for this is diarrhoeal deaths.
Out of all the causes of diarrhoea, Rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age.
Rotavirus diarrhoea can be prevented through vaccination. Other diarrhoea can be prevented through general measures like good hygiene, frequent hand washing, safe water and safe food consumption, exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation.
The rotavirus vaccine was introduced in 2016 and is now available in 28 States/Union Territories. It is expected to be available in all 36 States/Union Territories by September 2019.
GS-II: Incisive interventions that blunt the RTI’s edge.
The RTI Act, 2005 proved transformative to India’s democracy; it revolutionized the citizen’s ability to engage with the state, arming people with a mechanism to ferret out some of the truth from the government’s otherwise secretive operations.
Amendments to the act
Amendments have been passed without scrutiny by a parliamentary committee.
It changes the term in office of the information commissioners (ICs) and the manner of determination of their salaries.
In place of the existing five-year term, it grants to the Union government the power to notify their terms through executive regulations.
It deletes the RTI Act’s mandate that the salary paid to the CIC and the ICs should be equivalent to that of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
Now, the salary, allowances, and terms and conditions of service of the CIC and the ICs will be determined by executive guidelines.
Challenges it poses
Supreme Court has affirmed RTI’s position as intrinsic to the right to freedom of expression (for example, in PUCL v. Union of India, 2004)
For democracy to be valuable, citizens must possess a right to freely express themselves and have a right to know what the state is up to.
When a plea for information goes unheeded, CIC and the ICs play an especially vital role.
These amendments subvert the independence of the information commission.
The delegation of the power to fix the tenure and the salaries of the CIC and the ICs to the political executive places the information commission’s autonomy in a state of peril.
Efficacy of RTI
Through a response to an RTI request, it was discovered that between 2006 and 2010 more than 700 crores had been diverted from Delhi’s special component plan for the development of Scheduled Caste communities to projects related to the Commonwealth Games.
An exposé into the horrifying processes of the “Foreigners Tribunal” in Assam was made by securing information through the RTI Act.
The Environment Ministry has unveiled a draft plan that will dictate how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance.
The draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is part of a World Bank-funded project.
It lays out guidelines for coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal zones.
It seeks to assist the Government of India in enhancing coastal resource efficiency and resilience by building capacity for adopting and implementing integrated coastal management approaches
The document was prepared by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management, a Ministry-affiliated body.
As per the report, Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) has to be a continuous process rather than a “one-off” investment action.
The key activities proposed for coastal zone development include:
mangrove afforestation/shelter beds
habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows
eco-restoration of sacred groves
development of hatcheries
rearing/rescue centres for turtles and other marine animals
creation of infrastructure for tourism
restoration and recharge of water bodies
beach cleaning and development
small infrastructure facilities
Livelihood improvement projects include
demonstration of climate-resilient or salinity-resistant agriculture
water harvesting and recharge/storage
creation of infrastructure and facilities to support eco-tourism
community-based small-scale mariculture
Environmental and social aspects ought to be integrated into the planning, design, implementation of projects.
Projects should avoid or minimise impacts on cultural properties and natural habitats, compensate any loss of livelihood or assets, adopt higher work safety standards, occupational and community health and safety
Action so far
So far three coastal States, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.
Such plans would be prepared for the selected coastal stretches in other States/UT.
Inadequate planning has often obstructed coastal zone development projects.
India’s severe ‘water crisis is in the news recently. India’s cities are running out of water. Chennai witnessed the worst drinking water woes.
Niti Aayog’s report ‘Composite Water Management Index: A tool for water management’ stated that 21 major cities are expected to run out of groundwater as soon as 2020, affecting nearly 100 million people.
The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has been reporting on the increasing number of over-exploited blocks across India, labeled as the ‘dark’ category blocks. The recent annual book of CGWB has reported 1,034 units, out of the 6,584 units it monitors, as over-exploited.
CGWB’s 2013 estimates say that groundwater development in India is just about 62% of the utilizable groundwater reserves.
A recent report by the Central Water Commission and ISRO asserted that India is not yet in “water scarcity condition”, but in a “water-stressed condition”, with reducing per capita water availability.
Ensure adequate access to quality water, more so in urban areas where inequities over space and time are acute.
With rapid urbanization, demand cannot be met by groundwater reserves alone. Groundwater meets just 10% of Delhi’s drinking water needs. The rest is met by surface water sources transported from outside Delhi.
Water resource departments in the States are following conventional approaches to supply augmentation. They should reorient themselves and deploy demand management, conservation, and regulation strategies.
Centres and states should work towards an institutional change by building federal governance of water resources.
GS-II: ‘Trans Fat’ Logo
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched a new mass media campaign in order to create awareness about trans fats and eliminate them in India by 2022.
What are Trans Fat?
Artificial Trans fats are created in an
Ban or regulate? On India’s policy on cryptocurrencies
The recommendation of an inter-ministerial committee that India should ban all private cryptocurrencies, that is, Bitcoin and others like it hardly comes as a surprise.
Indian policymakers and administ
Integrated Battle Groups
The new concept of Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) which the Indian Army plans to create as part of overall force transformation is close to implementation.
What are IBGs?
IBGs are brigade-sized, agile, self-sufficient combat formations, which can swi
GS-III: Explained: July 2019 was the hottest ever month on record; what now?
The World Meteorological Organization announced that July 2019 matched, and broke the record for the hottest month since the analysis began.
The previous warmest month on record was July 2
GS-III: India’s economic mobility and its impact on inequality
There has been a phenomenal rise in economic inequality in India. It is important to measure the extent of economic mobility in India, which reflects the number of people moving up and down the economic ladder over ti
GS-II: Sikkim from Choygal rule to Indian state
Last week in Sikkim, 10 MLAs from the Opposition SDF defected to the BJP, adding to the political uncertainty that has loomed over since Assembly elections this year delivered a fractured mandate.
The current instability follow
In three months, the TN State government will put in place an M-sand policy that aims to promote the use of M-sand as an alternative building material.
It is aimed to eliminate the pervasion of sub-standard products in the market through regulation of trade.
GS-II: Breast milk banks to ensure all infants get a protective cover
A breast milk bank proposed by the Neonatology Forum (NNF), Kerala, is expected to provide solutions to all such babies who required intensive care at birth or are not able to be breastfed immediately for various