Consumers to soon have a reason to smile; govt comes out with ‘unit sale price’ for packaged items

New Delhi: Today, consumers buying 3.5 kg packaged rice flour or 88 grams biscuit packet might well be struggling to make out whether the product is exactly costly or cheap in comparison with other offerings. Come April next year, it will be much more easy for the consumers to ascertain the cost in unit terms.
To help consumers make a conscious purchase decisions as well as lessen compliance burden on industry players, the Union consumer affairs ministry has amended the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, whereby companies will be required to print ‘unit sale price’ on the packaged commodities.
Companies selling packaged commodities with a quantity of more than one kilogram should print ‘unit sale price’ per kg along with the maximum retail price (MRP), a senior consumer affairs ministry official told PTI.
For example, a packaged wheat flour of 2.5 kg should have an unit sale price per kg along with the total MRP.
Similarly, a packaged commodity of less than one kg quantity should have ‘unit sale price’ per gram along with the total MRP of the product.
Seeking to ease the compliance requirements, the ministry has scrapped the Schedule 2 of the rules under which 19 types of commodities were to be packed in quantities by weight, measure or number in a specified manner.
As per that rule, rice or wheat flour for example were required to be packed in 100 gram, 200 gram, 500 gram and 1 kg, 1.25 kg, 1.5 kg. 1.75 kg, 2kg, 5 kg and thereafter in multiples of 5 kg.
“But, the industry wanted to sell in different quantities and were seeking approval from the ministry. Some were approved and some were not. To give flexibility, the Schedule 2 of the rules has been scrapped. And, we have brought the unit sale price concept,” the official said.
According to the official, the decision is based on the best sales practice and will reduce the compliance burden on the part of industry as well as help consumers ascertain the price of the product before making a buying decision.
The other change made to the rules is the way MRP is printed on the packaged commodities. Currently, notices get issued to companies if MRP is not printed in a format mentioned in the rules.
The current format is: maximum or max retail price Rs xx.xx. If a company mentioned just Rs xx and no put .xx was considered as violation and notices were issued.
“Now, we have asked companies to give in the Indian rupees and freed them from any set format,” the official said.
The third change made to the rules is with regard to mentioning of quantity on a packaged commodity either in ‘number’ or ‘unit’ which as per the format is to be mentioned as xxN or xxU on the pack. —PTI

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