Addressing the media in New Delhi on March 14, 2023 (Tuesday), on the eve of World Consumer Rights Day, Nidhi Khare, additional secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, informed the total number of pending cases across consumer commissions is currently around 5.4 lakh.
"The number of consumer cases disposed of in 2022 was 1,82,248, which is higher than the number of cases filed in consumer commissions last year," she said.
She highlighted that the vacancies in the national, state and district commissions have come down considerably in the last year.
As a result, Khare claims that the case disposition rate has increased.
Last year, the total number of cases filed was 1,73,457, while the total number of cases disposed of was 1,82,248.
She claims that since July 2022, there has been more case dispositions per month than consumer cases filed.
The country has one national consumer commission, 36 state commissions, and 696 district commissions.
In line with the Prime Minister's LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) movement, Khare stated that the Department has initiated the creation of a "Right to Repair portal" to protect consumers from planned obsolescence, which is the design of a product with a limited life, resulting in increased e-waste.
According to her, the department is also planning a hackathon for designing charging solutions for wearable devices, with an emphasis on reducing 'electronic and electrical waste (e-waste)' and promoting a more sustainable consumer ecosystem.
"Wireless charging methods are also being investigated, which will significantly aid in the proliferation of e-waste," Khare said.
The Right to Repair portal is expected to address concerns about spare part pricing, originality, and warranty.
According to the statement, it will provide consumers with more information about the product by mentioning methods to verify the authenticity of spare parts and information on the country of origin.
The portal will provide information to help consumers self-repair, learn about authorised repairers, and promote third-party repairers. The goal is to create an ecosystem that ensures the availability of genuine spare parts for the duration of the manufacturer's warranty.
With an increase in the number of e-commerce grievances registered by consumers on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), the department is strengthening the NCH technologically to ensure that it not only receives more complaints but also quickly resolves common consumer grievances such as refund, replacement, and deficiency in service.
NCH serves as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism at the pre-litigation level, allowing consumers to easily register their complaints by dialling '1915' or using the mobile app. NCH is available in over 17 languages, including the recently added Maithili, Kashmiri, and Santhali.
It is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week via an Omni channel system that includes the NCH app, email, SMS, and phone calls. The number of dockets registered on NCH has also increased.
From a monthly average of 37,062 in 2017 to 86,674 in 2022, the docket count has more than doubled.
To facilitate online filing of consumer complaints, the E-Daakhil Portal was established, which provides a convenient, quick, and low-cost way for consumers to approach the relevant consumer forum without having to travel or be physically present.
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