Sale of packaged water and soft drinks above MRP (Maximum Retail Price) — including at airports, multiplexes and hotels — will attract stringent penal actions like fines and jail term, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Friday.
“Charging above MRP is violation of the law. But we still see at airports, multiplex and hotels, that packaged water is sold at more than the MRP. This needs to be stopped,” Paswan said here.
He said packaged drinking water is sold at 10-20 per cent higher rates at these places, while in some cases, MRP is not even written on the water bottle and “soft drinks like Coca Cola are sold in loose at an increased rate”.
“We have sufficient powers to take action against violators and we will take if consumers file complaints in this regard. There is penalty and even jail term for violators,” Paswan said on the sidelines of an event.
Speaking at an event commemorating 47th World’s Standards Day with theme of ‘Standards build trust’, the Minister said the ‘ISI’ quality certification mark is mandatory for packaged water bottles and this needs to be implemented in true spirit in the interest of consumers.
Recently, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) had imposed a penalty on a multiplex for selling water above MRP, he said adding that there is a need to create more awareness about consumer rights on this.
“Despite this judgement, water is still continued to be sold above MRP in multiplexes and airports. So, consumers need to be more aware and file complaints. If there is no complaint, how can we take action?” he said.
Talking about standards, the Minister said the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme cannot be successful unless domestic products/services follow the standards of international level.
Calling for building trust among consumers about Indian standards, he said, “We go abroad and buy branded clothes happily when we see the label ‘Made in US’. The moment we see ‘Made in India’ label, we don’t buy as there is lack of trust among consumers.”
This perception need to be changed by creating awareness among consumers by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which is the nodal agency for making standards, he said.
Stating that BIS makes standards for betterment of both industry and also to protect consumers, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs C R Choudhary said: “I would like to request the industry to follow standards strictly because those will survive who will provide best goods/services to consumers.”
More than 35 countries are adopting Indian standards and BIS is working on having unified standards for SAARC nations, he added.
(With inputs from PTI)