Q. 18

‘Consumer movemen

Answer :

Consumer movements can be effective only when there is voluntary participation of the consumers. The consumer voluntarily takes part in the movement when there is widespread consumer disputes in the country. Movement cannot when there is only one or two person, there must be a huge volume of people to lead the movement. The consumer movement arose out of dissatisfaction of the consumers as many unfair practices were being indulged in by the sellers. There was no legal system available to consumers to protect them from exploitation in the marketplace. Self-awareness is the first step for the effectiveness of the movement. Awareness is the creation of the process. The consumer must aware of the rights and duties of the consumer and how the consumer disputes are being done in the economy.

In India, the consumer movement as a ‘social force’ emerged with the necessity of protecting and promoting the interests of consumers against unethical and unfair trade practices. Extensive food shortages, hoarding, black marketing, adulteration of food and edible oil gave birth to the consumer movement in an organized form in the 1960s. Till the 1970s, consumer organizations were largely engaged in writing articles and holding exhibitions. They formed consumer groups to look into the malpractices in ration shops and overcrowding in the road passenger transport. The emergence of the consumer movement in India was because of increased violations against the consumers.

Because of all these efforts, the movement succeeded in bringing pressure on business firms as well as government to correct business conduct which may be unfair and against the interests of consumers at large. A major step taken in 1986 by the Indian government was the implementation of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, popularly known as COPRA. This movement was effective because of the widespread consumer dispute in India.

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