National Consumer Rights Day in India Date in the current year: December 24, 2024

National Consumer Rights Day in India In addition to World Consumer Rights Day, some countries have their own holidays dedicated to the rights of consumers. For example, Indians celebrate National Consumer Rights Day annually on December 24.

The history of consumer rights protection in India dates back to the 1960s, when the first consumer organizations began to emerge in the country. The first of them was the Consumer Guidance Society of Indiavv (CGSI), a non-profit organization established in 1966 to protect consumers and educate them about unfair trade practices, defective products and subpar services.

The establishment of the CGSI was long overdue because consumer rights in newly independent India left much to be desired. The country’s industry was controlled by a few monopolistic businesses that didn’t shy away from exploiting consumers to maximize their profit. In one infamous case, a batch of peanut oil was contaminated with toxic argemone oil, and forty consumers suffered dropsy (severe edema of the limbs) and glaucoma.

However, it wasn’t until two decades later that the interests and rights of Indian consumers became protected by law. It happened thanks to the adoption of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (COPRA). The law is sometimes referred to as the Magna Carta of consumer rights protection in India because it has empowered consumers by enabling the establishment of a nationwide network of consumer commissions and courts where consumers can settle their grievances.

The COPRA outlined six fundamental consumer rights: the right to safety, the right to choose, the right to be informed, the right to be heard, the right to seek redressal, and the right to consumer education. It also listed six types of unfair trade practices.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was amended in 1991, 1993 and 2002, and was eventually replaced by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. The new law emphasized the importance of transparency and accountability for consumer empowerment, widened the scope of consumer rights, described three more types of unfair trade practices, introduced the concepts of product liability and unfair contract, and outlined basic consumer rights in the areas of e-commerce and direct selling. It also set up the Central Consumer Protection Authority under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

India’s National Consumer Rights Day, sometimes referred to as simply National Consumer Day, commemorates the anniversary of the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Its main goal is to raise awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities among the general public to prevent consumers from getting exploited and encourage them to take action against unfair trade practices.

Every year, the Union Government of India, state and local authorities, and other stakeholders hold various programs and events on consumer awareness. They usually focus a specific team that is chosen each year. Past themes have included, for example, “Consumer – Know Your Rights”, “Tackling Plastic Pollution”, and “Fair Digital Finance”. These events include seminars and webinars, performances highlighting consumer rights, etc.

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