‘JK govt working to have ‘complete’ check on frauds’
NEW DELHI: Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Tribal Affairs, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali has represented Jammu & Kashmir State in International Consumer Day celebrations at New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister demanded banning online sellers, “who are duping the consumers”.
Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali presented a talk on the topic “Making Digital Market Places Fairer”.
The minister said that this year the world is focusing on issues related to access to internet, online scams and better online protection. He said that Government of Jammu & Kashmir has already been working on the lines “to have complete checks on frauds with consumers”.
About issue of access to Internet, the minister said that access to e-commerce is important as half of the world’s population is offline and the biggest thing that prevents consumer engagement in digital markets is lack of access to the internet.
He said that broadband adoption in many areas remains particularly low due to poor telecommunication infrastructure and lack of electricity so there was a need to “strengthen the broadband services even in the rural areas”.
Zulfkar said that many areas of Jammu & Kashmir are still having problem in communication through internet and mobile and “since the control on telecommunication lies with Government of India, the cellular and broadband services in Jammu & Kashmir must be strengthened”.
“Particular attention should be given to ensuring access for marginalised or disadvantaged groups of consumers and those in remote areas”, he added.
Appealing people to be aware of online frauds, the minister said that half of the people who never shop online, blame lack of trust and “major contributor to this lack of consumer trust is fear of being scammed”. He said shopping online can incur unexpected and unwelcome costs for consumers and these could arise from illegal and fraudulent scams, or from unfair, unclear and confusing business practices.
Quoting Australia for registration of online frauds, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali said that in March 2017, the Australian Government-run Scamwatch website received 531 reports accounting for 95,407 US dollars lost by consumers. He said that such practices are also being reported in India on the name of lotteries, etc. and “there is need to curb and keep check on such practices”.
He further said that there were various fake shops involved in diverting payments by pretending to be legitimate online sellers either with a fake website or by advertising on a genuine retailer site. He said that consumers also fall prey to scams where they never receive an item they have paid for or receive something different from what they ordered.
“I demand Government of India to ban these agencies who are fraudulently looting consumers through online services”, the minister said appreciating the US for taking action against a company. He said that in 2016, Alibaba was placed on the US government’s blacklist of “notorious markets” known for peddling counterfeit goods and similar practice needed to be adopted in India.
The minister has also called upon Government of India for online protection of consumers. He said that fear of being cheated sometimes arises from the scams, sometimes from unfair, unclear and confusing business practices.
Expressing satisfaction over consumer focus in J&K, the minister said state government had constituted State Consumer Redressal Commission, District Forums, State Consumer Protection Council and District Consumer Protection Council in every district of the state.
He also highlighted issues related to consumer affairs of J&K. He said that J&K government is not receiving any funding for awareness campaigns besides they have no infrastructure for district forums. He also sought GoI help to start online grievance redressal mechanism and digitisation of legal metrology data.