Markets do not work in a fair manner and the consumers are most likely to be the victim of the various types of exploitation that takes place in the market. This reason makes awareness on the part of consumers, an essential aspect.
1. Large companies with huge power, wealth and reach can easily manipulate the markets. Exploitation takes place in various ways, for example, shopkeepers weigh less than what they should or adding to charges not mentioned before or the selling of adulterated/defective goods.
2. Lack of awareness among the consumers can lead to, for example, selling of medicines without proper details of ingredients and manufacture and expiry, selling of goods at the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) etc, thus, being harmful to the consumer.
3. In India, the movement for consumer awareness arose as a ‘social force’ with the necessity of protecting and promoting the interests of consumers against unethical and unfair trade practices such as food shortages, hoarding, black marketing etc. The enactment of COPRA, 1986 and the expansion of Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 have provided the mechanisms for the protection and awareness of the consumer.
NOTE – The Consumer Protection Act (COPRA) of 1986 was one of the major steps forward in increasing the level of consumer awareness and reducing the levels of exploitation.
The Right to Information (RTI), 2005 is an initiative introduced to cover various services provided by the government. It aims to ensure the citizens all the information about the functions of the government departments.
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