Right to Consumer Education means right to acquire knowledge and skill needed to become an informed service receiver for or on behalf of persons with disabilities, their caregivers or families throughout their lives. Ignorance of consumers, particularly the illiterate and rural service receivers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. Appropriate forum for consumer education, enlightenment and protection of their rights is therefore mandatory to prevent such unhealthy practices in the service delivery organization for persons with disabilities.
Consumers must demand information and details on their rights, ongoing service activities for their own benefit or for benefit of their wards on a continual basis through group meetings, discussions, symposia, seminars, debates and declamations. There must be transparency in the practice or procedures of therapeutic planning, programming, implementation or execution of service delivery for persons with disabilities. Wherein the Institute is professedly a center for specialized manpower training, consumers must appreciate the genuineness of the efforts made by student-clinicians under the direct supervision of rehabilitation professionals.
CONSUMER MOVEMENT IN THE MODERN PERIOD
Consumer movement in the present form came into being only in the 1930’s in the West and only in the 60’s in India.
The basic objectives of consumer movement world wide are as follows :
· To provide opportunity to the consumers to buy intelligently
· Recognition of reasonable consumer requests
· Protection against fraud, misrepresentation, unsanitary and unjust products
· Participation of consumer representatives in management of aspects affecting
· Promoting consumers interests
The basic reason for the development of consumer movement in India are different from those in the West. In western countries, consumer movement was the result of post-industrialization affluence-for more information about the merits of competing products and to influence producers especially for new and more sophisticated products.
In India, the basic reasons for the consumers movement have been:
- Shortage of consumer products; inflation of early 1970’s
- Adulteration and the Black Market.
- Lack of product choices due to lack of development in technology
- Thrust of consumer movement in India has been on availability, purity and prices
The factors which stimulated the consumer movement in recent years are:
- Increasing consumer awareness
- Declining quality of goods and services
- Increasing consumer ,expectations because of consumer education
- Influence of the pioneers and leaders of the consumer movement
- Organized effort through consumer societies
Extra topics related to consumer education
The consumer is the center of all business activities. In modern days, it is said that the consumer is the king of the market. Business activities are carried out to satisfy, the wants of consumers. A commercial organization totally depends on the customer not only for its survival but also for its growth. At present customer is given top most importance and every attempt is made to satisfy the customer.
But in reality, the position of the consumer is different. He is like a slave. He is exploited by well organized and well informed sellers by charging higher prices, by supplying poor quality goods, even by supplying adulterated goods, shot weight, misleading advertisement, etc. Customers are still un-organized and have no idea about their basic rights of safety, right to choose, right to be heard, etc.
In the word Consumerism, “Consumer” means the user or customer and “ism” means movement”, and hence, consumer movement is popularly known as “Consumerism. It is an organized and collective movement of consumers. This movement started in the year 1920 to protect the interest of the consumers.
The main object of this movement is to educate and unite consumers and to fight for the protection of their rights. Consumer movement is similar to trade unions because it is a collective approach to solve the malpractices and injustice done by any organization.
Thus, it is a movement of the consumers, for the consumers and by the consumers because it is a social movement of consumers and it has came into existence to educate and unite consumers to fight for their rights. In short the process of uniting consumers is nothing but Consumer Movement.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CONSUMER MOVEMENT .
Some interesting developments which are helping the consumer movement include, developments taking place in the field of consumer education and some noticeable changes that have Gen place among business organisations and their associations or federations. Consumer Protection is being incorporated in the courses at different levels in schools and colleges. Full-fledged courses have been introduced in management and law courses.
A number of large organisations have set up Consumer Grievance Cells as an in-house redressal mechanism. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has set up claims review committees at the zonal and central levels. Petroleum Companies, Railways, 20. Banks, Income Tax Departments, have also initiated setting up of public grievance cells. The Government of India has set up a separate Directorate called Directorate of Public Grievances at Sardar Patel Bhavan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi. They deal with omp plaints relating to hawks, railways, insurance, pensions and related matters. In the long run, they will cover all the ministries. The nationalised banks are observing 15th of every month as the ‘Customer Grievance Day.’ where an aggrieved consumer can walk into the top managers’ offices in their respective town, district or zone. The Council of Fair Business Practices, of more than 20 years standing, is also trying to help in the redressal of complaints against business from individual consumers or groups. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (I?ICCI) has set up a Consumer Business Forum which meets once a quarter in different cities of the country.
All stock exchanges in the country have also set up similar cells. The Advertisement Standard Council of India (ASCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and FICCI have evolved a code of ethics for their activities.
Another significant achievement of the consumer has been the representation given to consumer organisations on the policy making bodies (regulator machinery) of govern- ments and AdyisoryWelfare Committees of big business organisations and the service sector. Central and State (Government) Consumer Protection Councils, regulatory departments of Preventions of Food Adulteration, Supplies of Food and Drugs, Weights and Measures Department, Quality Control Institutions like Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and AGMARK, Petroleum Product Department, Railway Commuters Welfare Committees, Regional Advisory Committees for Indian Airlines Services all have representatives of the various consumer organisations. Thus, consumers get full oppor-tunity to participate in policy making aspects.
It appears that the time has come when consumers in India can hope to be ‘The King’ in the market place very soon. The labour of dedicated individuals and groups who have fought relentlessly for consumers rights through the decades has not been in vain after all.