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Use digital media for speedy consumer complaint redressal

At a time when different social media platforms are being utilised for disseminating official information, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs Piyush Goyal has suggested officials to use digital media platforms such as WhatsApp and e-mail to reduce the pendency of consumer dispute cases.

Stressing on developing a speedy grievance redressal mechanism, the Union Minister asked officials to use WhatsApp and e-mail for sending notices for timely redressal of grievances.

While speaking at a national workshop on effective, speedier and hassle-free consumer dispute redressal, the minister said that the Consumer Commissions should religiously follow the timelines as per the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 for expediting the disposal of cases. The commissions should be able to dispose of cases within 3-5 months of filing as it will provide speedy justice to consumers, he added.

“The government is also taking proactive steps in encouraging the use of electronic mediation (e-mediation) as it will help in ensuring that location and distance do not act as barriers whenever parties wish to opt for mediation for the settlement of cases,” Goyal said, adding that so far 153 district commissions, 11 state commissions, along with national commission, have established mediation centres.

However, the minister also asked all states/UTs to expedite setting up mediation centres and appointing mediators.

“As of June 14, the pendency of cases at the National Commission (NCDRC) was running into thousands, the pendency at state commissions were over a lakh, and that at district commissions were over four lakh. That can’t be allowed to continue,” Goyal said.

The minister further stressed that consumers should be pushed to be vocal about their rights, otherwise, more and more people will stop filing cases.

“I would urge the commissions to at least take a Suo Moto decision to at least follow the central pattern on vacations. If we can’t work at a uniform pace across the country, then it is a matter of serious concern and introspection,” he said.

Present on the occasion, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh highlighted the four steps of Information and technology such as information, interaction, transaction, and transformation for the speedy redressal of grievances. Millenniumpost

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