Government to increase national consumer helplines

New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday reviewed the working of national Consumer Helpline, a toll free line being run by the Consumer Affairs Department for redressal of consumer grievances, and directed that number of helplines should be increased from 14 to 60.

Addressing the meeting attended among others by Minister of State for Consumer Affairs C.R. Chaudhary, he said the helpline numbers be increased “within a month”, an official spokesman said.

“Email, SMS and mobile app should also be developed for redressal of complaints,” he said.

The response time should be reduced from present 5-6 minutes to 3 minutes, Paswan told the meeting.

At the meeting, it was also decided that a committee under the chairmanship of Chaudhary should consider a mechanism for setting up four regional centres of the helpline to address complaints in regional languages.

“The committee has been asked to submit the reports within a month,” an official said.

Paswan also told the meeting that soon his ministry will come out with guidelines for “Direct Selling” to protect the interests of consumers.

He said besides discussions with the industry for setting up of effective consumer redressal mechanism, the government is also working on various measures for this purpose.

In the new Consumer Protection Act, a number of provisions have been proposed which would have far-reaching effects on consumer protection system in the country, Paswan said referring to the bill pending in Parliament.

He also hoped that the bill will be passed in coming session beginning July 18.



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