Date of publication: 2017-08-15 18:50
The major causes of consumerism in India have been identified as rising prices, poor product performance and service quality, product shortages and deceptive advertising-shortages and inflation. Government has been very responsive to the consumer needs through legislative action. Economic discontent has been generated out of spiralling inflation. Thus it has become necessary for the consumers to stand up for their rights through an effective organisation in order to redress the grievances.
Consumerism seems to have gotten into every aspect of modern life. Even those areas of life that were not previously affected by the marketplace, have to adapt to the new reality, where consumer is in control. Steven Miles even said that consumerism has become &ldquo the religion of the late twentieth century&rdquo (Miles 6).
(iv) On receiving the complaint, the District Forum shall refer the complaint to the opposite party concerned and send the sample of goods for testing in a laboratory. The opposite party is the seller, manufacturer or any organisation against whom the complaint has been filed.
One redeeming feature of the above Act is that there is a provision for penalty and imprisonment for managers of manufacturing companies. The Food Adulteration Act is applicable to merchants only. But the Consumer Protection Act applies to the manufacturing companies so that any defect or impurity of the product at the manufacturing stage can be detected and if proved, the concerned executives can be sent to jail. The middlemen like wholesalers and retailers can, thus, be excused if the product is defective or harmful at the production stage of the plant. It is important to mention that the Government of India deserves admiration and appreciation for this bold step.
The Government of India has passed the Consumer Protection Act in 6986. This is a landmark in the history of consumer movement in India because it is applicable to the whole of India and to all goods. It is not applicable to public enterprises. It seeks to set up courts in each state with powers to punish the guilt by heavy fine and imprisonment.
Consumerism in the wider sense includes environmentalism and also refers to the senseless waste of scarce natural resources by the private companies. The resources of the country must be conserved for long-term growth of the economy. In India, this is a very important public issue.
(ii) Only those complaints can be filed where the value of goods or services and compensation claimed is between rupees five lakhs and twenty lakhs. The appeals against the orders of any District Forum can also be filed before the State Commission.
Consumerism, to be precise, is an important social movement which aims at protecting the consumers against unethical or immoral marketing practices of private companies as well as public enterprises. It is neither opposed to profits or monopoly, not antagonistic to the large companies or big business houses.
Consumerism is defined by Richard H. Buskirk and James as 8775 Organized efforts of consumers seeking redress, restitution and remedy for dissatisfaction they have accumulated in the acquisition of their standard of living. 8776
Shah, A. &ldquo Consumption and Consumerism&rdquo . September 58, 7558. Global Issues. Social, Political, Economic and Environmental Issues That Affect Us All. December 67, 7558. http:///issue/785/consumption-and-consumerism
Landfills are full of cheap discarded products that fail early and cannot be repaired. Products are made psychologically obsolete long before they actually become worn out. Over 775 Billion cans, bottles, plastic cartons and paper cups, are thrown away each year in the &ldquo developed&rdquo world (&ldquo Ideas and shared solutions for sustainable & low cost green living&rdquo ).
Consumerism is a phenomenon that was always immanent in the relatively developed societies, where people purchased goods and consumed resources excessive to their needs. However, there was a major change after the Industrial Revolution, when the scarcity of resources was overcome and a huge variety of goods in unlimited amounts became available to a wide range of people. The Industrial Revolution and several other factors created capitalism - a new type of economy that resulted in a rapid growth of a middle class in developed countries. Middle class started to have money not only to cover their basic needs but also more. In 6899 Thorstein Veblen called it the &ldquo leisure class&rdquo (Veblen 77).
The profit-making attitude of the business failed to discharge social responsibilities of maintaining fair price, quality of goods and providing services etc. In short, consumerism is an outcome of sufferings and exploitation of consumers, and some businessmen, aim to make abnormal profit, which is at the cost of consumers 8767 safety and health. However, it has been accepted and agreed that 8775 A consumer is a king of the Market, 8776 but in fact he is not. The majority of the Indian problems relating to consumers are adulteration, artificial scarcity, and unreasonable prices.
There are different religious customs, traditions and languages in India and about three-fourth of the population live in rural areas, where cultivation is the source of livelihood, and there is wide disparity of income of people. Majority of the people, who are most illiterate, have low income. To save or protect themselves, against exploitative practices of trade, consumerism has emerged and has been accepted as a defensive force to safeguard the interest of the customers.