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Consumer meet adopts important decisions

Jamshedpur, April 21: Union Minister for food and civil supplies Ram Vilas Paswan inaugurated the meeting of the food and civil supplies ministers from the eastern and north-eastern regions of the country in Patna on Thursday.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Tripura. Jharkhand food and civil supplies minister Saryu Rai represented the state.

Elaborating on the issues taken up at the meeting, Rai said that they mainly discussed issues pertaining to the weight and measurements and consumer protection. He said that the state food and civil supplies secretary Vinay Kumar Choubey has been directed to convene a meeting in Ranchi on April 25 to discuss these issues with concerned state officials.

According to Rai, the Centre wants to introduce a new legislation on the quality of consumer items and has sought suggestions from the different states and Union Territories in this regard.

The new law will have provisions to sue the manufacturer along with the celebrities promoting the product, if they are found to be below par quality-wise. Moreover, the Centre will also introduce new quality control rules for bottled water produced by organizations run by it.

Talking about consumer protection, Rai said henceforth aggrieved consumers can file compensation claims worth Rs 1 crore with the district consumer forum, while the state unit can award Rs 10 crore for a single case.

Thus far, the district consumer forums handled cases worth Rs. 10 lakh, state forums Rs. 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh, while the central forums could award compensation worth Rs. 1 crore.

At the same time, the proposed consumer law would make it mandatory for jewelry manufacturers to put a hallmark and also mention the carat of gold used in the jewelry.

The meeting also decided that the pay scale of employees and the presidents of all consumer courts in the country will be at par. Till now, the salaries were different in each state.

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