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PM Narendra Modi delivering the inaugural address at the International Conference on Consumer Protection for East, South & South-East Asian Countries, at Vigyan Bhawan, in New Delhi. Photo credit: PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates International Conference on Consumer Protection in New Delhi, says consumer protection goes back to the Vedas

Even as consumers across India struggle to cope with the twin challenges presented by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime and his government’s insistence on linking bank accounts, mobiles, et al with the Aadhaar number, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday, claimed that the Centre was in the process of drafting a new consumer protection law.

In his inaugural address at the International Conference on Consumer Protection in New Delhi, the Prime Minister said: “we are in the process of enacting a new Consumer Protection Act keeping in view business practices and requirements of the country. The proposed Act lays great emphasis on consumer empowerment”.

The Prime Minister, who told leaders from South Asian, Southeast Asian and East Asian countries that “consumer protection has been an integral part of governance for ages in India” and finds a mention in the country’s ancient scripture – the Atharva Veda, said that the proposed legislation will crackdown on misleading advertisements. The new law will also seek to ensure that consumer grievances are redressed in a time-bound and cost effective manner while a Central Consumer Protection Authority with executive powers will be constituted for quick remedial action.

Though consumers and business owners – particularly those engaged in small and medium scale business – continue to feel strangulated by the GST regime rolled out by the Modi government in July, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi insisted that “in the long term consumers will be the biggest beneficiaries” of the tax reform.

Speaking about the benefits of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) – a reform that continues to draw sharp criticism from economists and the Opposition leaders within India – Modi told the audience comprising largely of foreign delegates and Indian officials that the new tax “is a transparent system in which no one can hurt the interests of consumers.” The Prime Minister claimed that “increased competition due to the GST will lead to moderation in prices. It will directly benefit poor and middle class consumers.”

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