Debate on consumer protection bill in RS

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The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday started debating a bill that provides to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumer disputes.

The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, seeks to strengthen rights of consumers and provides a mechanism for redressal of complaints regarding defects in goods and deficiency in services.

Moving the bill for consideration and passing, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said it is a long pending legislation and except five all recommendations of a parliamentary standing committee have been included in the bill.

The bill, if passed by Parliament, will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Derek O'Brien and K K Ragesh (CPI) have moved amendments for sending the bill to a select committee for further scrutiny.

Paswan said the government had dropped health care from the bill as several members had objected to it.

He said this "non-controversial" bill among other things, proposes setting up of Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and forums at the district, state and national levels for adjudicating consumer complaints.

It also seeks to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce consumer rights as a class.

The CCPA would make interventions to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices. The agency can also initiate class action, including enforcing recall, refund and return of products. 

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