• Consumers India March, 2016

Promote Energy Efficiency to Save us from Global Warming, Mr Prime Minister
Wish to intern with Consumers India? Apply just now!
TALK on ‘How safe are our cars?’ held in IHC
Save Consumers from the Hazards of Lead Poisoning, Mr Prime Minister
Landmark Judgments under Consumer Protection Act
Demand safer cars, consumers!
Update on ‘Sustainable Development’ Contests
Truth about Ice-creams and Frozen Desserts
About Consumers India

Brief details regarding each of these activities are given in the following paragraphs.

Promote Energy Efficiency to Save us from Global Warming, Mr Prime Minister Consumer Survey in Delhi, carried out by interns as a part of their study on Energy Efficiency indicates that while 73% people have at least one AC in their house, 57% of households do not get their AC serviced every year. 48% people keep 3 to 4 devices on standby mode on daily basis, which is a major cause of wastage of electricity. Also, 49% people give preference to price over star rating. In this scenario, how are we going to face the challenges of global warming?

Some of our concerns regarding Energy Efficiency emanating from a study carried out by a group of students led by Akanksha Rai Sharma (B Tech (ECE), 2nd yr, Maharaja Surajmal Institute of Technology, GGSIPU) during internship with Consumers India as also expert inputs received from Shri Sanjay Kumar, Director, Toshiba Plant Systems & Services India Pvt Ltd, Shri Prabhat Varshney, Vice Chairman, South Asia Forum for Energy Efficiency (SAFEE) and Dr Roopa Vajpeyi, Academic & Consumer Activist, who were panelists in our programme ‘Save Energy, Save Money’ held on 10th February, 2016 in India Habitat Centre, have been shared with Prime Minister and others with an appeal to take adequate measures to promote energy efficiency in all possible ways to save our earth from global warming. Some of them are given below:

1: According to International Energy Agency, “improved energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and transportation could reduce World's energy need in 2050 by 1/3rd and help control global emissions of greenhouse gases". Decrease in level of emission of CO pollutants will simultaneously improve ecological system. Energy efficient devices are viewed as a potential solution to global warming.

2: The overall size of energy efficiency market in India is estimated to be Rs. 74,000 crores. Usage of various appliances like refrigerators, computers, air conditioners, geysers, colour televisions, office equipments etc is on the rise in India and is resulting in substantial increase in the demand for energy.

3: If energy supply capacities are expanded without promoting more efficient use of energy, the amount of capital invested will eclipse the economic growth it seeks to sustain. “Energy conserved is energy produced” is the slogan used world over to raise public awareness on the importance of efficient use of energy.

4: The Bureau of Energy Efficiency started off the Standards and labeling programme for equipment and appliances in 2006 to provide an informed choice to consumers about energy saving. The scheme has been introduced for 21 equipments/appliances. However, only 4 products have been notified under mandatory labelling. There is need to expand this list.

5: A five star rated appliance may seem to be little costly at the time of purchase, but in the long run it will help in saving money on electricity bills. For example, shift from early 1980-90s model 250 litre refrigerator to a 2014 model 5 star refrigerator will save Rs 11,525 per year!

6: Cochin International Airport in Kerala is the world’s first airport that runs exclusively on solar power from August 2015. This is the single largest solar project which has been constructed in an airport in India. Over the next 25 years, Cochin International’s solar power station is expected to save 300,000 tons worth of carbon emissions. That’s the equivalent of planting three million trees or not driving 750 million miles!

7: Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme, recently introduced by Govt, has been well received by consumers. It is estimated that more than 2 crore subsidized LED bulbs had been distributed under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme till October, 2015, helping in daily energy saving of 73 lakh units, which translates into Rs 2.9 crore a day!

8: It is estimated that nearly 18000 villages in India do not have electricity. Even when the village is electrified, number of homes remain without electricity. For example, 96% of Bihar’s villages are electrified but only 56% homes have electricity connections. Further, only 20% of Bihar’s rural households use electricity as their primary source of lighting. The energy, saved today, not only helps consumers save money on electricity bill, it also helps light such homes!

9: Domestic gadgets using renewable resources such as solar energy need to be developed and popularised.

Concerted efforts are required to promote consumer awareness regarding energy-saving tips, starting from school children. A few such tips are given below:

A: Purchase five star rated appliances, wherever star rating has been introduced.
B: Always check the date of manufacture of an electrical appliance at the time of purchase. A five star rated product manufactured in 2015 may consume less energy than the one made in 2013, due to innovations!
C: Clean AC filters at least once in a month to run AC efficiently and save unnecessary consumption of electricity.
D: Switch off your computers, printers, TV and other gadgets, when not in use. Avoid ‘Sleep’ and ‘Standby’ modes to save energy.

TALK on ‘How safe are our cars?’ held in IHC

Consumers India celebrated ‘World Consumer Rights Day’ by organising talk on an important consumer issue titled ‘How safe are our cars?’ in India Habitat Centre on 16 March, 2016.
The Theme Presentation was made by Ms Sakshi Hallan (Eco (H)-2nd yr, IP College for Women-DU) and her Group Member (Rupanshi Taneja) on the basis of the study carried out by them during recent internship with Consumers India. The distinguished Panel, consisting of Dr TK Joshi, Member Secretary, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health (IVPSS), Maulana Azad Medical College; Mr Murad Ali Baig, Automobile Analyst; Mr Veeresh Malik, Auto-industry Analyst; Dr Roopa Vajpeyi, Academic & Consumer Activist & Dr G S Tiwari, General Secretary, Consumers India shared their wisdom with the audience, followed by interactive session with audience.
The Theme Presentation, made by Ms Sakshi Hallan (Eco (H)-2nd yr, IP College for Women-DU) and her Group Member (Rupanshi Taneja) has been shared with many. We will be glad to share it with you if you feel interested.

‘World Consumer Rights Day’

March 15 is observed as ‘World Consumer Rights Day’ globally. This was the day in 1962 which saw the culmination of the ceaseless campaign for consumer rights, initiated by Ralph Nader, the great consumer Activist, with the historic Declaration by the then President John F Kennnedy of USA: “Consumers by definition include us all.
They are the largest group in the economy, affected by almost every public and private Division… but they are the only important Group whose views are often not heard.” He spelt out four basic consumer rights, ie, Right to Safety; Right to Information; Right to Choice and Right to Representation. More rights were added later by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, but 15th March remains the historic day in the history of consumer movement.

Save Consumers from the Hazards of Lead Poisoning, Mr Prime Minister

Do you know lead poisoning causes anaemia, low IQ level, headache, impaired fertility, hypertension and much more? Just imagine the plight of workers in lead hazard occupations! A survey of workers revealed that most of the painters don’t even know that there is lead in paint and it is hazardous for health.
The battery recyclers, however, generally know that their field of work is associated with lead. But they cannot imagine switching jobs as they have to feed their family!
Another startling revelation is the fact that cosmetics like lipstick, kajal and sindoor are major sources of lead poisoning in women. The average quantity of lipstick ingested by a woman in her lifetime is 2 kgs and it is also linked to infertility and miscarriage. Consumers India has reiterated its concerns regarding Lead Poisoning emanating from the studies carried out by groups led by Sushant Thakran (BBS-3rd yr, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, DU) and Subuhi Karim (MA Eco-Jamia Millia Islamia) during internship with Consumers India with an appeal to Prime Minister to take adequate measures to safeguard the health and well being of our consumers from the hazards of lead poisoning.

Some of them are given below:

1: WHO has identified lead as one of the chemicals of major public health concern. As per their estimates 15-18 million children in developing countries are suffering from permanent brain damage due to lead poisoning.
2:In the tests carried out 72 % of the samples of popular paints and all the samples of artificial jewellery had much higher levels of lead than the voluntary limit specified by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
3: Children and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning. The foetus of pregnant woman is gravely affected by lead exposure since lead can pass through the placenta directly into the baby.
4: A survey on consumers revealed that 70% of them had no awareness of the lead content they are exposed to in day-to-day life.
5: Though Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) had revised its voluntary household and decorative paint standards to 90 ppm in 2013, it is rarely followed by industry.

Consumers India has made following suggestions to tackle this menace effectively:

1: It is necessary to establish a national mandatory regulatory framework to control the manufacture, import, export, sale, and use of lead paints, toys, cosmetics, Ayurvedic and herbal medicines and other products causing lead poisoning.
2: Awareness regarding lead poisoning should be spread amongst consumers.
3: Pre natal check up of pregnant women should include blood test for lead.
4: There is also need to review the existing limits for Lead in prevailing standards. Many countries worldwide are reducing the permissible limits. For example, Canada has a limit of 10 ppm for Lead in products applied to skin.

Landmark Judgments under Consumer Protection Act

Do you know, Medical Services were covered under Consumer Protection Act by the landmark judgment of Supreme Court? There are number of other landmark cases pertaining to Medical Services, Insurance, Misleading Advertisements, Tourism, Food and Beverages, Real Estate etc. The group led by Nimisha Gupta (BA LLB (H)- 3rd yr, USLLS, GGSIPU, Delhi), along with Shruti and Pranav have prepared a ‘Compendium of Landmark Judgments under Consumer Protection Act’ during Autumn 2015 Batch of Internship with Consumers India.

Demand safer cars, consumers!

India does not adhere to UN’s minimum crash test standards for cars. As a result car makers take consumers for a ride and provide higher safety features only in high end luxury cars. Consumers have to defy the notion that airbags, ABS and other safety equipments are a luxury component and demand safer cars. “RIGHT TO SAFETY” is the first Consumer Right. We need to fully understand this right and demand safer products, says the group led by Sakshi Hallan (Eco (H)-2nd yr, IP College for Women-DU), who also made the ‘Theme Presentation’ on the basis of their Internship Study in our programme ‘How safe are our cars?’ held in IHC on 16 March, 2016.

Update on ‘Sustainable Development’ Contests

Consumers India had organised All India Painting, Slogan and On-line Photography Contests on the theme ‘Sustainable Development’ during 2015-16 in collaboration with the Society for Upliftment of Masses (SUM), an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
Deriving inspiration from the new development goals being considered for post-2015 world, following specific topics were assigned for each contest:

Slogan Contest on the theme ‘Say No to Plastic Bags’

Painting competition on the theme ‘Save Environment’

Online photography contest on the theme ‘Happy Grandparents Happy Family’

Thousands of entries were received for these contests. While results of Online photography contest have been announced and prizes sent to prize winners, entries received for slogan and painting contests are still under evaluation and will be notified as soon as the process is completed.

Truth about Ice-creams and Frozen Desserts

‘Avoid the trap of Ice-Crime’ - warns the group led by Harleen Pasricha (B Com (H)-JMC-DU), which has studied the subject during internship with Consumers India.
They found that frozen desserts, which do not contain milk cream, are being marketed as ice cream! As vegetable oil used in frozen desserts is one third the price of milk fat, frozen desserts manufacturers play with huge margins and cheat consumers. Amul and Mother Dairy are most significant brands of ice-cream whilst Kwallity Walls, Vadilal, Häagen-Dazs, Baskin-Robbins, Cocoberry, and London Dairy are Frozen Desserts, available at wide-ranging prices.
And, if you think, sugar-free ice cream is a guilt-free way of enjoying an otherwise calorie-laden treat, think again and check for facts say Harleen, Krittika, Aishani, Apoorwa & Jyoti.
The Amul regular variety, for example, has only 5 ingredients – and none are harmful junk ingredients. The sugar-free version has 21 ingredients for the same half-cup serving-including three sugar alcohols, three artificial sweeteners and 12 other ingredients, which are a mish-mash of random fillers, thickeners and preservatives! It also leaves a slightly weird aftertaste! Did you pay extra just for that

About Consumers India

Consumers India is an intellectually strong organization comprising senior officers of Government of India (generally retired), doctors, engineers, academics and others, who have joined hands to use their knowledge and experience for the well being of consumers. The organization was registered on 18.05.2007 under Societies Registration Act, 1860. It is also registered under Sections 12A read with section 12AA and 80 G (5) (vi) of Income Tax Act, 1961.
Consumers India has taken up several important campaigns with a view to safeguard interests of large number of consumers. Some of them relate to ‘Unethical Medical Practices’, ‘Misleading Advertising’, ‘Ageing with Dignity’, ‘Access to Affordable Medicines’, ‘Hazards of Electronic Waste', ‘Justice for all…Just Now’, ‘I am a city changer’, ’Right to Information’, ‘Junk the junk food’ etc.
Catalyzing the energy of youth through Internship Programme and All-India Painting/Slogan/On-line Photography Contests etc has been a major milestone achieved by Consumers India.
Further details may be seen on the following Website and Blog which provide a host of valuable information that we all need to survive in this world marked by anti-consumer forces playing havoc with our lives!