THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government will establish a separate directorate for Consumer Affairs before March. The directorate will assist people in grievance redressal and would be a fillip to the consumer rights movement.
A state resource centre, call centre and consumer help desks will also be launched along with the directorate. “District-level help desks can guide the consumers on grievance redressal. The help desk will recommend the appropriate forum to be approached - the consumer forum, consumer commission or a civil court,” an officer said.
Though the government formed a separate department for Consumer Affairs in 2007, the formation of the directorate got delayed. The Consumer Affairs Department is engaged in the formulation and monitoring of schemes on consumer protection in the state. Strengthening of the consumer movement and implementing the policy and programmes of the Central Government are among its other objectives.
The ration give-up scheme launched by the Food and Civil Supplies department is slowly picking up the pace. About 250 families have voluntarily given up the subsidised ration in response to the Civil Supplies Department’s “give up” campaign launched during the last week of December. Officers said they would conduct campaigns to encourage well-off ration card holders to give up the monthly ration through the department’s website or by contacting respective Taluk Supply Offices. Those who voluntarily give up the ration are free to claim it after six months.
If well-off cardholders opt out of the ration, the department would enhance the monthly allocation for the needy among the non-priority card holders. The Central sanction for non-priority card holders is 26,000 metric tonne of rice and 6,000 metric tonnes of wheat flour. Since this is quite insufficient, the department has lowered the monthly allocation to these families.