Regulators

Minister hints Consumer Protection Bill passage next Parliament session

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NEW DELHI. The Consumer Protection Bill 2015, seeking to amend the archaic Consumer Protection Act and make provisions for penalising misleading advertisements and celeb endorsers, could be enacted into a law in the next session of Parliament, which is likely to reconvene later this month.

Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan indicated this while inaugurating the sixth edition of Massmerize 2016, FICCI’s annual flagship Retail, FMCG & E-Commerce Convention.

Paswan said it was important for the industry to win the trust of the consumers and weed out companies indulging in misleading advertisements that often played with the health of the consumers. The onus, he said, was on industry to deliberate on this issue with seriousness and identify factors that are inimical to industry’s growth.

Consumer Affairs Ministry sources, in the meanwhile, told  indiantelevision.com that the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee concerned were still under consideration and the Bill may be further amended if these recommendations are accepted.

The three decades old Consumer Protection Act was seen as an inefficient piece of legislation, out of step with new market dynamics, multi-layered delivery chains, innovative and, often, misleading advertising and marketing machinery as earlier reported by indiantelevision.com.

FICCI FMCG Committee Chairman and COO, ITC, Sanjiv Puri, gave the FMCG industry perspective, indicating that the FMCG sector which today stands at close to Rs 230,000 crore is expected to climb to Rs 600,000 crore by the end of the decade.

Puri said that the food processing sector was today taxed at over 25% across the whole value chain and called for a much more moderate rate of tax in the GST regime. The losses in terms of revenue to the government will be compensated for by a widened tax base.  

Tata Sons GEC member Harish Bhat said the march of digitalization was changing the consumer profile in the country as by 2020 close to 220 million consumers will be online shoppers, a six-fold increase from now. He added that the key consumer trends indicated that health and wellness were a major requirement of the consumers and digital connectivity was driving this demand. He suggested that industry and government come together to find innovative solutions to satisfy consumer demand.

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