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New Delhi : PM Narendra Modi on October 26, 2017, inaugurated the two- day International Conference on Consumer Protection for East, South, South East and Asian Nations on “Empowering Consumers in New Markets” in New Delhi.  The Prime Minister, in his inaugural speech, mentioned that East, South and South East Asian countries have a shared heritage. These nations have long history of trade. This in itself paves way for mutual cooperation in the area of consumer protection.

PM Modi said that it is the consumer that helps markets grow and trade expand. The Prime Minister thanked the delegates from countries and UNCTAD for associating with India in holding this conference. He drew attention of the gathering to the traditions and laws of ancient India as old as 2,500 years and Vedic period, when laws existed for preventing unfair trade practices, abuses and adulteration of products, according to a PIB release.

While mentioning the unique nature of CP Act 1986, the PM mentioned the new Consumer Protection Bill which is on the top priority of the Government. The Prime minister mentioned several important efforts taken by his government across various sectors like Housing, Energy, Standards, Healthcare, pharmaceuticals and medical devices and procedures that has resulted in financial benefits to consumers. He drew attention to demonetization and the GST regime that introduced a new business culture which will ultimately bring down prices for consumers. 

While talking about various sectoral initiatives, he mentioned the importance of good governance, Jandhan Yojna, Make in India programme, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and provision of free LPG to the poorer sections of society, technology driven  PDS system and Aadhar based transparency system, etc that have protected consumer interests. On the digital front, he said efforts are on to ensure that at least one member in a rural family gets digitally educated so that the rural population can derive benefits from various government schemes and are able to use UPI, BHIM etc.
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Ram Vilas Pawan made specific reference to the New Consumer Protection Bill which is likely to replace the old Act soon and the new BIS Act with specific emphasis on Hallmarking Scheme for ornaments. 
Secretary General, UNCTAD, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, elaborated on globalization and the resultant challenges it brought to consumers. He mentioned the backdrop against which the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection were revised in 2015 and the commendable role India has played. He suggested some points for consideration of India in the implementation of UN Guidelines including  Provision of high quality ICT infrastructure at affordable prices and Consumer safety from hazardous goods.,
International Conference on Consumer Protection has been organised by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India with the association of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This is the first time an international conference on consumer protection has been organised by India for countries of the region. 

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