‘ Indian Consumers in the New Age: A Forward Looking Agenda to Address the Concerns of the Common People’ (ConsumersUp). Key Findings of the Research . National Conclave Oct. 11-12, 2012 IHC, New Delhi. Project Back Ground.
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‘Indian Consumers in the New Age: A Forward Looking Agenda to Address the Concerns of the Common People’ (ConsumersUp) Key Findings of the Research National Conclave Oct. 11-12, 2012 IHC, New Delhi
Project Back Ground • On completion of twenty five years of Consumer Protection Act 1986, there is need for compressive and forward looking Consumer Protection Policy to address emerging consumer issues. • For this CUTS is implementing a one year (Nov. 2011-Oct. 2012) Project named “ConsumerUP” in partnership with DoCA, GoI in four states of India. • As part of the research component consumer survey has been conducted in 19 states and 3 union territories of India to understand the state of Indian consumers. CUTS assigned the task to a professional agency; Insight Development Consulting Group (IDCG) on competitive bidding basis. • The focus of the survey was to assess the level of Knowledge, Awareness and Exercise of consumers regarding consumer rights motioned in UN guidelines: -
Enabling environment for protection and promotion of consumer interest contributing towards the national interest” 1 National Conclave 4 Regional Consultations 8 State level knowledge Enhancement workshops Study on the State of the Indian Consumers Project Approach For more details, visit: http://www.cuts-international.org/CART/ConsumersUp/
Research Methodology & Coverage • Surveyed 11,499 (53%Male & 47% Female) consumers following a Stratified Multi-Stage Sampling Approach in 88 districts, spread across 19 states and 3 union territories of India • Population Proportionate Sampling (PPS) methodology was used to draw a sample representative of the state’s population. • Other factors taken into account in stratifying the sample include: • Geographical spread • Relative literacy rates of districts • Rural and urban divide • Categories of consumers in term of gender, education and financial status • 385 qualitative samples collected through personal interactions with consumer organizations, redressal bodies, Govt. departments/agencies. • Period of Data Collection- March- June 2012
Right to Basic Needs(Food, Water, Health, Sanitation, Education, Transport, Communication and energy) • 31% respondents believe that the water from these sources is not potable, hence not safe for drinking • Only 24% respondents are aware about government Sanitation Program/schemes. • 77% consumers feel the need of a regulator for private schools. • Only 4% consumers have access to internet. • About 74% of the respondents who tried to access govt. housing finance or bank finance scheme believe that finance is not easily accessible and affordable • Only 44% respondents have reported to receive appropriate quantity of food grains from PDS/FPS on a regular basis. • According to 59% respondents doctors do not generally prescribe generic or competitively priced drugs/medicines. • 26% respondents have travelled more than 5 km to access institutional health care facility.
Right to Basic Needs • Only 44% respondents consider cost of obtaining healthcare services affordable • 17% believe that government support for home/community toilet is easily accessible. • Only 62% consumers consider electricity to be affordable. • About 56% of those who use LPG or kerosene as their primary source of energy for cooking have reported incidence of obtaining LPG/kerosene from black market. About 20% of them always obtain LPG or Kerosene from black market. • Only 22% respondents are satisfied with Government’s effort to ensure adequacy, accessibility and affordability of basic needs. • 53% respondents strongly believe that right to basic needs should be enacted as a legal right.
Right to Safety • Though about 83% respondents believe that certification and warnings are an important means to ensure right to safety. • But 40% of respondents do not refer to any safety or quality certifications such as ISI, ISO, Agmark, Codex etc. before making a purchase. • ISI is the most known certification • Consumers suggested to make mandatory certification of Acid, Paints, Mosquito Coils, Beverages and Electronic Items.
Right to be Informed Awareness Regarding Consumer Protection Related Laws (%)
Right to be Informed Awareness Regarding Regulatory Agencies
Right to Choice Products/Services which Should Offer Portability • Only few consumers are of aware about competition issues and their importance to protect interests of consumers. • only 1.6% respondents were able to correctly name at least one product/service which has only one or two producers/providers. • Apart from availability, cost of alternatives, transaction fee, documentation are the main barriers before consumers in choosing alternative service/products. • Consumers believe that there is need to promote more free & fair competition in Aviation, Education, Oil & Gas, Railway and Real –Estate.
Right to Redressal • 61% normally voice their complaints to seller, at first point • When it come to actual situation - 93% respondents have never made a formal complaint • Only 0.3% respondents have approached consumer fora for grievance redressal, • 78% have rated the grievance redressal process as “difficult”. • 75% cases were not completely redressed while only 18% of such unresolved cases were taken to a higher authority for redressal. • 67% cases were not redressed within stipulated time frame • 0.1% people have approached sector ombudsman for redressal. • Only 18% consumers are fully satisfied with the existing redressal mechanism • Only 28% of those who know about external redressal mechanism believe that it is easily accessible by a common man • About 89% aggrieved consumers are represented through advocates in SCDRC and DCDRC.
Right to Redressal- Major reasons for delay • According to SCDRC/DCDRF, the three major reasons for delay in redressal are : • Adjournment Sought by Advocates/ Parties (27%) • Limited/Inadequate Administrative/ Support Staff (19%) • Educational Status of Complainant (11%) • According to Consumer Organisations, the three major reasons for delay in redressal are: • Educational Status of Complainant (16%) • Inadequate Administrative/ Support Staff (14%) • Limited Number of Benches (13%)
Right to Consumer Education • Only 42% respondents have heard about consumer rights • 78% of such respondents heard about consumer rights from television (TV) Almost 50% of respondents are aware of “Jago Grahak Jago Campaign”. • 80% of such respondents learnt about the campaign from Television. • Close to 50% of those who know about “Jago Grahak Jago” campaign have reported to benefit directly or indirectly from the campaign.
Right to be Heard /Consumer Representation Hurdles in ensuring effective consumer representation/ participation • only 23% are aware about the process of public consultation or consumer representation. • In rural area only 18% respondents are aware • About 28% of those who are aware about public consultation or consumer representation have also participated
Right to Healthy Environment • Only 9% respondents are aware about certifications and initiatives. • Awareness about such certifications is largely among residents of southern (18%) and northern (12%) region, while eastern region has lowest level of awareness (2.5%). • About 28% respondents those who know about such products always tend to buy such products • About 63% are willing to pay some extra money to buy such products Awareness regarding environmental friendly certifications
Recommendations • There is need of a separate department for consumer affairs to coordinate all consumer related affaires. • There is need to simplify & speed-up process of consumer fora. • There should mediation/consumer cells every in District Forum. • There is need of a National Authority to curb unfair trade practices , mainly misleading advertisements. • There is a need of national campaign for consumer awareness (like Jago Grahak Jago) in all regional languages. • There is need to creat more awareness about regulatory agencies and their regulations for consumer protection. Every regulator should have dedicated fund for consumer protection. • There is demand to maker Right to basic need a legal right.
Recommendations • There is need of regulators for education, health and real-estate sectors. • There should be more emphasis on consumer education in school and college curriculum. • There is need to ensure access to affordable health services/medicines, especially promotion of generic medicines. • There is needs to promote sustainable consumption and production by providing incentives to green production & consumption. • There is need to activate/empower consumer protection council at national/state/district level. • There should be case management system in Consumer Fora for proper monitoring of disposal to ensure timely disposal.
Thank You Amarjeet Singh, Project Coordinator,CUTS International D- 217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, IndiaPh: 91.141.5133259, 2282 823/2282 482Mob: 91. 9829015812Fax: 91.141. 4015395Email: email@example.com; consumersUp@cuts.org; Project Webpage: http://www.cuts-international.org/CART/ConsumersUp/