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Hunt for the ‘Most Consumer Friendly State’ begins

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Government of West Bengal extended their support by hosting the Regional Conference on ‘Criteria for Measuring the Most Consumer Friendly State(s) in India’ organized by the Consumer Online Foundation in New Delhi.

The event took place at the Kreta Suraksha Bhawan on Tuesday.

Sadhan Pande, Minister In charge of Consumer Affairs, Self-help Group and Self Employment, Government of West Bengal said, “I accepted Mr. Misra’s proposal immediately because this will be an eye-opener when the report is published, it will tell us which state is the most consumers friendly.

He lashed out at the Central Government and expressed his worries, “I am surprised that the Government of India is not putting stress on the consumer affairs. Who will listen to the problems of the common man? Where does he go? So the consumer movement will have to come in a big manner.”

Pandey also expressed his concern about the Prime Minister’s attitude towards consumer affairs.

He said, “The Prime Minister (of India) have spoken to Indian’s abroad but have not looked into this matter, have not attended a single meeting in Delhi with the Consumer Affairs Minister.”

He, however, showered praises on his own department and state, “We are doing our best in spite of the financial difficulties, and we had two consumer courts previously, now we have three. We have asked the Central Government to give some statutory power to the grievance court so everyone is served justice (on wealthy people ignoring calls by the grievance courts.)”

West Bengal is the only state to have an Independent Ministry for Consumer Affairs and boasts of a Consumer Assistance Bureau, financed by the State Government.

In his speech, Satish Chandra Tewary, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal said, “We have our own articulated cartoons apart from the ones by Jaago Grahak Jaago. They are drawn by Chandi Lahiri and we would be increasing them in order to inform and educate all the consumers.”

A Subbiah, Secretary to the State, Government of West Bengal claimed, “We are a strong contender if not the only one for the prize.”

He added, “We have sensitized or offices and officials by providing them with proper training. The Number of cases has increased in the last three years and we need the Central Government’s help to carry on with the movement.”

Surinder Singh, Director In-Charge, National Institute of Biologicals, Government of India mentioned, “The very objective of quality healthcare is to look after the patient’s safety. Communication is the most important factor.”

P C Jha, Vice Chairperson, Consumer Online Foundation, New Delhi said, “A wide gap exists between what should be done and what have been done so far.”

Bejon Kumar Misra, Founder, COF and the man in charge of this mission said “We are doing this project to bring out the truth to the forefront.”

The winner of this prize will be announced on March 2016.

Delegates from Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha along with other dignitaries both from this state and its neighbors also attended this meeting.