World Consumer Rights Day


07:37 AM

1 min read
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Every year on March 15th, we celebrate World Consumer Rights Day, a day dedicated to raising global awareness about consumer rights and needs. This day serves as a reminder of the power of the consumer and the importance of being informed, respected, and protected in the marketplace.

Why Do We Celebrate World Consumer Rights Day?

The origins of World Consumer Rights Day date back to President John F. Kennedy’s historic address to the US Congress on March 15, 1962. He was the first world leader to formally address consumer rights, outlining four fundamental rights: the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, and the right to be heard1. Since then, March 15th has been a day for consumers worldwide to unite and advocate for fair treatment and against market abuses.

The Theme for 2024: Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers

This year, the theme is “Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers.” As artificial intelligence becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives, it’s crucial that AI systems are developed and used ethically, with respect for consumer rights at the forefront. This theme emphasizes the need for AI to be transparent, accountable, and inclusive, ensuring that consumer protection keeps pace with technological advancements.

Significance of World Consumer Rights Day

World Consumer Rights Day is not just a day of celebration but also a call to action. It’s a day to:

  • Educate: Inform consumers about their rights and how to exercise them.
  • Advocate: Push for policies and regulations that protect consumers, especially in the digital age.
  • Unite: Bring together the global community to share knowledge and strategies for consumer empowerment.

Initiatives Taken up by India towards Consumer Rights Protection

India has taken several initiatives to protect consumer rights, ensuring that individuals are safeguarded against unfair business practices and have access to effective redressal mechanisms. Here are some key initiatives:

  • Consumer Protection Act, 2019: This act replaced the earlier 1986 act and introduced significant changes to enhance consumer protection, including the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to regulate matters relating to consumer rights and practices.
  • State Consumer Protection Councils: These councils work in coordination with the CCPA to promote and protect consumer rights at the state level.
  • Mediation as an Alternative Dispute Resolution: The 2019 act introduced mediation as an alternative to litigation, providing a quicker and less formal means of resolving consumer disputes.
  • RBI Initiatives: The Reserve Bank of India has launched several schemes like the Retail Direct Scheme and the Integrated Ombudsman Scheme to strengthen the grievance redress mechanism in the financial sector.
  • E-commerce Rules: To protect online consumers, the government has proposed e-commerce rules that aim to prevent unfair trade practices and ensure transparency.
  • Hallmarking: The government has made hallmarking mandatory for gold jewellery and artifacts, providing consumers with the right to quality and purity.

These initiatives reflect India’s commitment to upholding consumer rights and adapting to new challenges in consumer protection, especially in the digital age.

Moving Forward

As we observe World Consumer Rights Day, let’s reflect on our role as consumers in shaping the market. By staying informed and demanding fairness, we contribute to a marketplace that respects our rights and values our voices. Let’s continue to advocate for a world where every consumer is treated with dignity and fairness, especially as we navigate the complex landscape of artificial intelligence.

World Consumer Rights Day is a powerful reminder of the strides we’ve made in consumer protection and the journey ahead. As we embrace the theme of “Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers,” let’s commit to fostering an environment where technology serves the common good and consumer rights are upheld in every transaction.