In view of the emerging global markets and concerns for good governance coupled with rising expectations of the people for better services, quality goods, availability of choice and value for money, there is universal emphasis for protection and promotion of Consumers’ rights and interests. It is well recognized, world over, that protection of Consumers’ rights and interests not only promotes the interests of business but also of the state as well. To give boost to the efforts of the Government in the area of consumer protection and consumer welfare the need of a dedicated “Centre of Excellence” for the cause of Consumers. The Centre has emerged as a “Centre for Excellence” through its various activities. This is the only Centre of its kind in the country dedicated exclusively for protection and promotion of consumers’ right to education.’ rights and interests’ protection and promotion was felt at the Government level.
Role of CCS in promoting Good Governance through Capacity Building
Good governance implies better services, and quick redressal of consumer grievances. With this objective the Centre for Consumer Studies (CCS) has been:
- Enhancing the capacity of various stakeholders involved in consumer protection. Through capacity building of the Presidents & Members of District Consumer Forums, Government functionaries, NGOs, Educational Institutions and frontline staff of the helplines both Central & State Govts. The Centre helps reduce the performance gaps.
- Empowering the consumers about their rights and responsibilities through education and awareness programmes so as to help them take a rational decision and be safe in the market. Our focus has been to empower the rural consumers through PRIs and anganwadhi workers, etc.
- Interacting with industry, traders and service providers to enhance the quality and services of products and services.
- Our capacity building programmes have been received well.
Area of Research
The Centre was set up in 2007 under a MoU and funded by the Department of Consumer Affairs, GoI. Till date the Centre has conducted more than 30 research and evaluation studies on various themes of consumer interest. Major themes of research have been Consumer buying behaviour, Impact of CP Act, working of redressal agencies, food wastage, junk Food, E-commerce, Fake products, Food Adulteration, Digital Banking, Legal metrology, Best practices in Consumer protection, Evaluation of Service providers like insurance, banking, Electricity, Problems of Rural consumers.
Achievements of the Centre since last three years
- CCS conducted 34 capacity Building Programmes during FY 2018-19. Published 2 books, three monographs, and around 10 papers, and conducted 3 research studies apart from other activities.
- The Centre was given the responsibility to set up and operationalize National Consumer Helpline. Through NCH and SCHs, CCS has been involved in redressal of consumer grievances.
- The Centre has been involved in the drafting of CP Bill, 2018 and rules under it. CCS also represented before Parliamentary Committee for this. CCS was also part of various Rules Committees to formulate rules under CB Bill.
- CCS organized Stakeholders’ Consultation Chaired by Hon’ble Minister(CA) in 2015
- CCS has been involved in the development of syllabus/ curriculum for the paper on consumer protection introduced by UGC at the undergraduate courses. CCS also did handholding of a number of Universities in developing syllabus and material for Diploma courses in Consumer Protection. Also modified the Chapters on Consumer Protection in CBSE syllabus.
- Presented before a number of Parliamentary Standing Committees on CP Bill, Civil Aviation, BIS Hallmarking.
- The Centre focused on consolidating its various activities relating to capacity building, research documentation and publication.
Plan of Action for the current financial year (2019-20)
- During the year CCS intends to organize around 30 capacity building programmes/ seminars & workshops at IIPA, New Delhi and various states.
- A few policy conferences will also be organized.
- Two action research will be undertaken
- 2-3 Monographs will be published
- Continue to strengthen the redressal mechanism through NCH
- Awareness material will be generated
- Any other activity assigned by Department of Consumer Affairs.
(The work plan of the Centre is approved by the Monitoring Committee Chaired by Secretary Department of Consumer Affairs once in six months. It is likely to meet in May/June to approve the work plan for 2019-20 based on the activities under the MoU)
The Training Calendar, research studies and topic for publications for July 2019-June 2020 will be prepared after approval of the Monitoring Committee.
Major Achievements of Centre since inception
The Centre was set up in 2007 and keeping in view its contribution to consumer protection and welfare in a very short period the Department of Consumer Affairs designated the Centre as a Knowledge Partner and Think Tank of the Department. The Centre represents the Department on various platforms, committees including Parliament Standing Committees.
The Centre has made a mark in the Consumer Movement within a decade. The Center has a National reach in terms of its programmes and activities.We have continued to enjoy the trust and confidence of the Department of Consumer Affairs. The funding is performance linked and there has been no problem of funds.
The State Consumer Helpline Knowledge Resource Management Portal was set up at IIPA to provide Knowledge database & handhold State Consumer Helplines. In recognition of our capacity to handle complaints the National Consumer Helpline was shifted from Delhi University in 2014. Today we handle nearly 55000 complaints /month which is an all-time high record.
Recognizing our efforts in redressal of Consumer Grievances through the National Consumer Helpline, Google invited the Centre to the Third Google Consumer Summit at Mountain view, California, USA. Google covered travel and hospitality. Our work relating to consumer redressal was recognized at the international level.
Visit of various international stakeholders from USA, Australia, Japan, Russia and Bhutan to study the Helpline system in India
The Centre has brought out a number of publications and is filling the gap in availability of literature in the area of consumer protection and welfare
The Centre was given the mandate to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Consumer Protection Act in 2012. A two day conference was organized by IIPA which was attended by more than 700 participants. Two Silver Jubilee Volumes were also brought out.
In 2017 the International Conference was organized by the Department of Consumer Affairs in Vigyan Bhawan which was addressed by Honb’le Prime Minister of India.
The Centre was given the responsibility of managing the theme sessions and also brought out the background material of the conference.
The Centre played a major role in formulation of the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 and also drafting the rules as a member of the Rules committee set up by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
The Centre has built a large network with various stakeholders throughout the country and abroad as well.
The Centre undertook the following major studies which paved the way for policy interventions.
- Study of “Food Wastage and Ostentatious Behaviour in Social Gatherings”. Based on the recommendations of the study orders were issued by various governments to control food wastage.
- The study is the first of its kind and was extensively covered by both print and electronic media.
- Role of Consumer Clubs in promoting Consumer Awareness and Education: An Evaluative Study of Consumer Clubs in India.
- A Study of Impact and Effectiveness of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. This report was presented before the Parliamentary Standing Committee. This report formed the basis of the New Consumer Protection Bill. Most of the recommendations formed the basis of the new bill.
- Evaluation of BIS Hallmarking Scheme. The recommendations to strengthen the scheme were accepted by BIS and presented before the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
- Evaluation of the BIS Scheme on National System of Standardization.
Physical and Financial Achievements of CCS
Programmes Organized (2007-2019)
Number of participants Year wise (2007-2019)
Number of Research Conducted Year wise (2007-2019)
Number of Publications Year wise (2007-2019)
Year wise Budget (2015-2020)
Besides this, the CCS has also been sanctioned Rs. 14.15 Crores (rupees Fourteen Crores Fifteen lakhs only) for implementation of Integrated Consumer Grievance Resolution system through NCH for two years.
Outreach of the Centre for Consumer Studies (CCS) (2007-2018)
Prof. Suresh Misra