Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister, Piyush Goyal on Monday came down heavily on states that have not yet agreed to decriminalise the Legal Metrology Act 2009, especially in view of the retail trade.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the national-level workshop on the Act, which has undergone several changes/amendments since then and there has been much to-and-fro between the states and the Centre on several issues, including the main decriminalisation part.
Before Goyal spoke, Secretary, Consumer Affairs, Rohit Kumar Singh had made a presentation about what all was planned during the day-long workshop wherein he also presented statistics regarding first offences and second/habitual offenders and also gave a break up under various sections of the Act.
“Some states are not taking it as seriously as we at the Centre are. Those who are doing wrong, we need to take strict action against them. Lot of states are objecting to decriminalisation… I wonder why? The states that are opposing this step should be exposed in the public,” Goyal said.
Quoting examples from the data presented by the Secretary, Consumer Affairs, the Minister said, “I am not ready to believe that all those first offenders in thousands and lakhs become honest overnight and their numbers reduce to less than 50 as second offenders.”
Goyal also said that he is currently reading Kautilya’s Arth Shashtra and reminded the audience that even the centuries-old document has given much larger space to responsibilities and just one portion on punishment. “We need to emulate that. We need to differentiate between a seller of Rs 50,000 a product and Rs 15 a product. Can we not have an honest system with little more compassion,” he asked.
The workshop also had a session where either Ministers from various states or secretaries took part in the discussion on de-criminalisation of legal metrology. Ministers for Consumer Affairs and Food Supplies from Delhi (Imran Hussain), Bihar (Amarendra Pratap Singh), Manipur (L. Susindro Meitie), Odisha (Ranendra Pratap Swain) and Sikkim (Arun Kumar Upreity) among others spoke on the occasion.