Saturday, October 26, 2013

John F Kennedy and World Consumer Movement

Consumer Rights Part-I 

John F Kennedy &World Consumer Movement

 "Consumers by definition include us all. They are the largest economic group, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision. Yet they are the only important group,whose views are often not heard." -J.F Kennedy ,15 March 1960.
The consumer movement is also a social movement like civil rights and feminist rights movements,it advocates rights of consumer.It is resistant movement against marketing and industrial practices ,which includes deceptive advertising,use of dangerous vehicles ,inhumane working conditions.
The consumerism and consumer movement are interchangeable terms.In U.S.A ,the term "consumerism" to refer to the consumer movement in a pejorative and antagonistic way.The strong opposition to consumer movement are strong lobbyist of U.S market.Most business houses brought law suits against consumer rights organization for false propaganda.  
It is apt to say Mr.John F Kennedy is 'Father of Consumer Movement" in USA and World.Before 1960,consumer rights were not recognised in USA or world in particular,but consumer rights were recognised by Christianity,Islam and Hinduism ,but they were not codified.

Then American President of U.S.A Mr John F Kennedy gave famous speech at congress on March 15,1960,which led to enactment of law,which is called "Bill of Consumer Rights". The March 15th is regarded as "World Consumer Day " celebrated wide across the world protesting market abuses.

Four Basic Rights :
The right to safety 
The right to be informed 
The right to choose 
The right to be heard

United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection [UNGCP]: The Expansion of J.F Kennedy "Four rights to eight consumer rights "The Guidelines in seven areas were adopted by consensus resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on 9th  April 1985.The Eight one was added in the year1999.The UNGCP revision process will be completed in July 2014.

  1. Physical safety
  2. Promotion and protection of consumers' economic interests,
  3. Standards for the safety and quality of consumer goods and services,
  4. Distribution facilities for essential consumer goods and services,
  5. Measures enabling consumers to obtain redress, 
  6. Education and information programmes,
  7. Measures relating to specific areas (food, water, and pharmaceuticals). 
  8. Promotion of sustainable consumption, [was added in 1999]. 
 Consumer responsibilities: In 1980 's, Mr.Anwar Fazal, then president of Consumer International,[NGO] introduce a set of consumer responsibilities to compliment consumer rights.
  • Critical awareness, 

  • Involvement or action, 

  • Social responsibility,

  • Ecological responsibility, 

  • Solidarity 

Famous consumer rights activist Ralph Nader denounced soft drinks for containing excessive amounts of sugar (more than nine teaspoons a can).

Consumer Movement in India :The concept of consumer protection in India as old as business and trade ,The  'Kautilya' 's Arthashastra ,who was a scholar at Takshashila and He was teacher as well as  guardian of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya made references to exploitation by the trade and industry, short weights  and measures,adulteration and advocated punishment for these offences.
After Indian Independence ,the rapid industrialization and growth of technology lead to boom of consumer goods and consumer durables ,after advent of news paper,radio and television ,the trend of advertising picked up momentum ,same time the consumers were cheated and deceived by deceptive advertising of goods due to illiteracy,poverty, and lack of awareness among masses.The first legislation of consumer protection in India is "The Consumer Protection Act, 1986"which lead to formation of consumer redressal forums[Consumer forums-consumer Courts]
Next Part :Legislative Frame work  of Consumer Protection in India.

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