Ministry of Consumer Affairs Current Affairs
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The First International Consumer Protection Conference on empowering consumers in new markets for South, South East and East Asian Countries was held in New Delhi from 26 to 27 October 2017. The theme of the conference was “Empowering Consumers in New Markets”. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The two day conference was organised by Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution in association with UNCTAD. The conference was attended by 1600 participants that included delegates from 19 countries from East, South and South-East Asia which account for majority of global consumers and share common challenges and experiences participated in it.
New Consumer Protection Bill
During inauguration of the conference PM Narendra Modi announced that new consumer protection law is on anvil to crack down on misleading advertisements and simplify grievance redressal mechanism. The main objective of new law will be to protect the rights of consumers.
It will replace previous Consumer Protection Act of 1986 by incorporating amended 2015 UN guidelines on consumer protection. It proposes to have Central Consumer Protection Authority with executive powers will be constituted for quick remedial action. It also establishes Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions at every district, state and national levels.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
UNCTAD is principal organ of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. It was established in 1964 and its permanent secretariat is in Geneva. Its primary objective is to formulate policies relating to all aspects of development including trade, aid, transport, finance and technology. It ordinarily meets once in four years.
The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution unveiled the revised Building Code, making builders liable for the structure’s safety.
The code has been prepared by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). It is voluntary in nature, but the states can incorporate them in their building bylaws.
Some provisions of the code
- Safety responsibility: Structure designers and supervisors are made responsible for the safety of the structure. Builders are also made responsible safety of the construction.
- Builders have to give a certificate mentioning that the building has been constructed as per the planned design submitted to the local bodies
- Modern buildings: It incorporates necessary changes keeping in view the requirement of modern buildings. Besides, it encourages use new building material and alternative smart technologies.
- It also has provisions on use of innovative materials and technologies and on prefabricated construction techniques that can give fillip to speedier construction.
- Fire and life safety norms: Specified for high rise buildings and a proper horizontal evacuation system in high-rise hospitals and public buildings. It includes high speed lifts for tall buildings.
- Universal accessibility: It provides for universal accessibility for senior citizens and differently abled citizens.
- Sustainability norms: It features norms for solar energy utilisation, inclusion of modern lighting technique including LED, updated provision on piped gas supply in houses and hospitals. It also covers solid waste management and rain water harvesting.
- Ease of doing business: It has a detailed provision for streamlining the approval process in respect of different agencies in the form of an integrated approval process through single window approach thereby avoiding separate clearances from various authorities.
The Building Code is used by local bodies for framing building bylaws. It is used by government departments in construction activity and also by private builders as well as professionals like planners, architect and engineers. It is also used for academic purpose