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Consumerism and Awareness

In the 21st century every country emphasis on the economic development and growth of the nation. For any country to burgeon, the demand side of the economy is must which should be contemplated upon. Every country tries to promote Consumerism so that the economic activities get boosted which shows that the consumers of the country are the real drivers or the king of the economy.

Consumerism means human inclination towards the purchase goods in excess of one’s demand, which is known to have started during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. In reality, this king gets duped in some circumstances. The protection of consumers cannot be ignored. Without the satisfaction of consumer, the goal of economic growth by the way of Consumerism cannot be achieved.

Since excess of anything is harmful, higher level of Consumerism in the society also has ill impacts. Increasing consumerism results in:
A shift away from values of community, spirituality, and integrity, and toward competition, materialism and disconnection, said UniSIM's Dr Wei, quoting US psychologist Madeline Levine. Consumer awareness itself will not change the world; we need firms that are ready to change habbit of the people. Fortunately, many companies have moved towards Green Consumerism where they properly analyse the impact of such overproduced goods on the environment and act accordingly.

Development of the Consumer Laws is and should always be the priority of the control houses and the administration. First of all, we should know about the rights granted by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (Earlier 1986).

The broad categories of rights are:
  • Right to Safety which means that the consumer should not be offered any product that hampers their safety or are hazardous to the health.
  • Right to Information which means that the consumers must be informed well in advance about all the necessary details of the product like the quality, place of production, etc. so that he can make the informed decision.
  • Right to Choose which means consumer should be free to choose among variety of products and should not be forced to buy a particular product.
  • Right to Heard which means consumer can file a complaint whenever he is dissatisfied with the product.
  • Right to Seek Redressal which means that the consumer can always seek redressal for their grievances.
  • Right to Consumer Education which means consumer should be made aware of his rights that he can exercise.
The awareness about these pieces of legislation is also a necessity and the time has come to do this job as the country is moving towards the goal of Atmanirbharta. Spreading awareness about the existing laws should be the priority and the new goal of “Consumer Awareness” should be pondered upon since this is the point where the Department of Consumer Affairs lacks in achieving its target of Consumer Protection. Consumer Education will prove to be the means in achieving a harmonious and civilised society.

Consumer Awareness simply means that the consumer must be aware of the information related to the products or services so that he can take the informed decision and make the right choice. It means making him aware about the safety and redressal points available to him. He should not be under any wrong conception regarding the market condition. An aware consumer is always an asset for the society.

There is a famous quote which stands fit in the current case and I quote, “Awareness is like sun, when it shines on things, they are transformed”.

The current Consumer Protection Act, 2019 which substituted the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 could be very helpful in achieving the goal of Consumer Protection and with special focus on Consumer Awareness. The most important new addition that have been included this time is that the complaint can be file even where the consumer resided.

Otherwise the producer/ manufacturer would use the tactic which is known as SLAPP which basically means that the consumer even though wanted to file suits but does not go ahead because of many factors which mainly is that the place of suit is not in the reach of consumer.

Current Scenario
In the times of globalisation and capitalisation there exist a need to protect the consumers from big corporations and advertisers who capitalise the powerful psychological processes to built the image of the goods and services they offer. Consumer behaviour can be influenced by mental process that occur outside of conscious awareness Consumption becomes the matter of impulse clouded by these illusions.

There is a need for mindfulness to offered in order to reduce the destructive effects of consumerism so as to show how consumers are manipulated to buy a particular product. The result is that we end up financially supporting companies which we might not support socially, ethically or philosophically.

In the digital era, there exist a need to create awareness and literacy among consumers as nowadays almost all business activities are conducted online. In the country where achieving the target of literacy is still not possible, leave the plight of digital literacy. The digital frauds are becoming rampant in the society. In addition to this the existing legal framework which protects the consumers from such frauds need to be redefined.

We cannot blame the government alone. The consumers are also equally responsible for their plight. The government is running many programs like Jago Grahak Campaign to made aware consumers regarding the fraudulent practices but the consumers turn a deaf ear to it.

Conclusion
The fact is clear, the role of the government should be changed, from regulator to informant. The program of Consumer Protection is of great significance to all of us as we all are the consumers. It can be defined as the socio-legal movement which demand active involvement of all quarters is needed. There is a need for proactive legislations and effective implementation.

The multi-media publicity which is currently shaping the market design in the country should be well regularised so that role of local bodies should be redefined since awareness program at lower level generates better awareness. It is also the time for the youth of the country to volunteer in spreading awareness. All this should go in a harmonious manner in order to make out society a better place to live in.

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