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Right measurement powerful instrument for growth of trade, says Paswan
Tuesday, 21 March, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Consumer affairs, food and public distribution minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that right measurement was a powerful instrument for the sustainable growth of the industry and trade, and it also contributed towards the social progress of the country. Delivering the inaugural address at the national consultation meeting of the state secretaries and controllers of legal metrology (which was convened by the department of consumer affairs, ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, and took place at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan), he added that wrong or imprecise measurement built mistrust, and was often a safety hazard.
The minister added that the common consumer was still finding that the accuracy of some of the critical instruments used in daily lives suffered from inaccuracies. Sometimes, doubts are expressed regarding the accuracy of the petrol pumps and weigh bridges used in agricultural mandis. Some manufacturers still disregard the provisions of package commodities rules.
While appreciating the efforts of the states, Paswan advised the department of consumer affairs and states in coordination to enhance their efforts to improve consumer confidence in the system and create deterrences in the minds of manufacturers who indulge in unfair practices or push sub-standard products into the market.
He also mentioned some of the significant steps taken by the ministry in the last two years in a proactive manner to strengthen legal metrology. Some of the recent initiatives focused on included action against charging more than the maximum retail price (MRP) and declaring dual MRP. The ministry is also contemplating amendments in the packaged commodities rules.
C R Chaudhary, minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution was also present and addressed the participants. He stated that the subject of weights and measures was important for a common man, and the need for this meeting was to find out the problems faced by the states and to find solutions.
“The department of consumers affairs has taken a number of good decisions,” Chaudhary said. He emphasised that there was a need to create trust between the consumer and the trader as well as the system. “Trust in both quality and quantity need to be generated and the latter must be generated by the legal metrology division,” Chaudhary added.
He said that sincere work was needed to address the complaints of consumers as quickly as possible and devote more time in field. Chaudhary added that the Central government was there to help the states.
Hem Pande, secretary, department of consumer affairs, mentioned that this was the first time the department was conducting a national-level consultation of this magnitude, adding that it could not have come on a more appropriate time (when the Centre and the states were working in close coordination to take strong action against the unfair practices and violations of law).
He mentioned that to realise the objectives of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, and Rules, the states have to play a critical role. The secretary mentioned that many states were taking proactive steps but suggested that the efforts requires constant review and revision, given the rapidly-changing trade and commerce scenario.
Legal, administrative and operational challenges were discussed at length at the meeting, and strategies for a more coordinated and focused approach for the future were agreed upon.
The following important decisions were taken at the meeting to further strengthen the legal metrology enforcement in the states for better consumer protection:
Museums depicting legal metrology standards of various parameters will be set up in all the seven regional reference standard laboratories (RRSLs) and the Indian Institute of Legal Metrology (IILM), Ranchi. The RRSL at Faridabad will also have the national-level museum on legal metrology
Technology will be used to prevent unfair trade practices in weights and measurements
The chief ministers of all states and Union Territories (UTs) will be requested to set up standard weighing and measuring instruments in Gram Panchayats, so that consumers can approach Gram Panchayat facilities to check the weights and measurements of goods purchased by them in case of doubt
States can submit consolidated proposals for mobile vans and labs with proper justifications for funding from the Central government
On National Consumer Day every year, awards will be given to the three states for the best Legal Metrology administration
Publicity funds available will have components earmarked for creating a consumer awareness programme on legal metrology
The Jago Grahak Jago programme will also focus on popularising consumer awareness on legal metrology in rural areas and popularising mobile lab facilities
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