National Consumer Helpline 2.0 Launched

National Consumer Day 2023: Embracing Technology for Consumer Empowerment

Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, inaugurates e-jagrti portal, VC facility for NCDRC and all State Consumer Commissions

New Delhi: The National Consumer Day 2023, celebrated with great enthusiasm in New Delhi, marked a significant leap towards enhancing consumer satisfaction and protection in India. Shri Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Textiles and Commerce & Industry, inaugurated several key initiatives, reflecting the government’s commitment to leveraging technology for the welfare of consumers.

The event’s focus was on integrating advanced technologies to streamline consumer grievance redressal mechanisms. Shri Goyal, in his inaugural address, emphasized the crucial role of customer satisfaction in the country’s development. Echoing the sentiments of the Honorable Prime Minister from the B20 summit, he stressed the importance of consumer care in discussions on consumer rights.

A testament to the government’s dedication is the significant increase in calls received at the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), growing from 10,000 in 2013 to 1,32,209 till November this year. This surge indicates enhanced consumer engagement and trust in the system.

Key Initiatives Launched:

  1. E-Jagriti Portal: A digital platform aimed at educating and empowering consumers, making them aware of their rights and available redressal mechanisms.
  2. VC Facility for NCDRC and State Consumer Commissions: This facility will expedite the case hearing process, allowing for remote appearances and hearings, thereby reducing the burden on both consumers and the commissions.
  3. Drone Testing in NTH & Other Inaugurations: The inauguration of a drone certification facility at the National Test House (NTH), along with new laboratories for testing domestic appliances in Mumbai, transformer testing in Guwahati, and an organic food testing laboratory in Jaipur, showcases the government’s focus on quality control and consumer safety.
  4. National Consumer Helpline 2.0: This upgraded helpline will now support 17 languages, ensuring wider accessibility and inclusion for consumers across different linguistic backgrounds.

The Minister also drew attention to the recent “Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns, 2023” issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs. These guidelines aim to combat manipulative practices in digital commerce, ensuring a transparent and fair marketplace for consumers.

Honorable Justice Shri Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, President of the National Commission, was commended for his efforts in improving case disposal rates. The Minister urged further technological integration to eliminate old pending cases and address new ones more efficiently.

Shri Goyal highlighted India’s success in managing food inflation through proactive measures, including the establishment of 550 price monitoring centers and subsidized distribution of essential commodities like dal and atta.

For a brighter consumer future, the Minister encouraged the Department to transform ‘jagriti’ (awareness) into a ‘jan andolan’ (people’s movement), focusing on spreading awareness, offering choices, efficient grievance redressal, and continuous feedback.

Keynote Address by President, NCDRC: Hon’ble Justice Shri Amreshwar Pratap Sahi underscored the mantra of ‘Upbhokta Devo Bhava’ (Consumer is God). He advocated for the e-filing of cases to be made accessible nationwide, ensuring that even consumers with limited technological prowess can benefit from this facility.

Union Minister of State Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey lauded the Department’s efforts in automating processes through software applications and online portals. He emphasized the need for timely disposal of cases in the face of emerging risks and challenges in the digital and e-commerce spheres.

Mr. Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, outlined the recent achievements and initiatives undertaken for effective case disposal and advancements in testing standards. He reiterated the department’s commitment to employing technology for swift case resolution and robust governance.

The event concluded with technical sessions discussing the role of Artificial Intelligence in consumer rights protection, the impact of technology in speedy case disposal, and the influence of dark patterns on consumer choices.

This year’s National Consumer Day celebrations mark a new era in consumer rights and protection in India, with a clear focus on leveraging technology to safeguard and empower consumers across the nation.

Credits : Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

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