Friday, July 31, 2020

India Report on Digital Education, 2020’ launched by HRD ministry

Introduction:-
Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ virtually launched India Report on Digital Education, 2020 on 28 July ,2020.
Report contains innovative methods adopted by Ministry of HRD, education departments of States and Union Territories for ensuring accessible and inclusive education to children at home and reducing learning gaps .

Important points :-
1.It has been prepared by the digital education division of MHRD in consultation with education departments of the states and union territories.
2.It contains the innovative methods adopted by the MHRD, for ensuring accessible and inclusive education to children at home and reducing learning gaps during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Initiatives by MHRD:-
1.It has started projects to assist teachers, scholars and students in their pursuit of learning like DIKSHA platform, Swayam Prabha TV Channel, Online MOOC courses, On Air – Shiksha Vani,   DAISY by NIOS for differently-abled, e-PathShala, National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) to develop e-content and energized books telecast through TV channels, E-learning portals , webinars, chat groups, distribution of books and other digital initiatives along with State/ UT Governments.

2.It has released guidelines on digital education called 'PRAGYATA'.

Initiatives by State governments and UTs.:-
States and Union Territories have provided digital education at the doorstep of the students. Some of them are:
1.Social Media Interface for Learning Engagement (SMILE) in Rajasthan.
2.Project Home Classes in Jammu.
3.Padhai Tunhar Duvaar (Education at your doorstep) in Chhattisgarh.
4.Unnayan Initiatives through portal and mobile application  in Bihar.
5.Mission Buniyaad in NCT of Delhi.
6.Kerala’s own educational TV channel (KITE VICTERS).
7.E-scholar portal as well as free online courses for teachers in Meghalaya.
8.Telangana has online certificate programs for teachers on ‘Management of mental well-being during COVID’.
9.They used social media tools like WhatsApp Group, Online classes through YouTube channel and Google meet to connect to the students.
10.Some of the states/UTs like Lakshadweep, Nagaland and Jammu & Kashmir have also distributed tablets, DVDs and pendrives, equipped with e-contents to students.
11.They have also distributed textbooks at children’s doorsteps to ensure inclusive learning in remote areas where internet connectivity and electricity is poor.
12.Several states have also focussed on the mental well-being of the children e.g Delhi conducted happiness classes.

Steps to deal with the challenges of providing remote learning:-
1.NIOS & Swayam Prabha contents are disseminated focusing on children who are not connected to the internet and have limited access to radio & TV. 
2.Andhra Pradesh has started Toll Free Call Centre and Toll Free Video call centre for students for understanding critical topics and clearing their doubts.
3. Chhattisgarh has started Motor iskool due to poor mobile connectivity and unavailability of internet services and also started a toll free number as VFS (Virtual Field Support).
4.Jharkhand has started the Roving teacher where many teachers keep moving to teach children.
5.Gujarat started a Reading Campaign for Oral Reading Fluency- Vanchan Abhiyan and Parivar no maalo-salamat ane humfaalo (family’s nest-safe and warm) socio psychological support programme for children.
6.West Bengal has also started an exclusive and dedicated toll-free helpline number to enable students to call and clarify doubts.


MHRD has also launched the 'Manodarpan' initiative, which aims to provide psychosocial support to students, family members and teachers for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.

Source -PIB

Thursday, July 30, 2020

National Education Policy 2020


Brief history :-
The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and it was revised in 1992.More than thirty years have passed since previous Policy. During this period significant changes have taken place in our country and the world at large. It is in this context that the education sector needs to gear itself towards the demands of the 21st Century and the needs of the people and the country. Quality, innovation and research will be the pillars on which India will become a knowledge super power. So, a new Education Policy is needed.
During period of Smriti Irani as HRD minister a ‘Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy’headed by former cabinet secretary T.S.R. Subramanian was formed.This committee submitted report in May 2016.Based on this, the Ministry prepared ‘Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016’.  In June 2017 a ‘Committee for the Draft National Education Policy’ was formed under Chairmanship  of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief Dr. K Kasturirangan.This committee  had submitted the draft of the new NEP to Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on 31 May ,2019.After that draft was uploaded on MHRD website for suggestions from various stakeholders including public. Over 2 lakh suggestions was received.

Introduction :-
The National Education Policy ,2020 was approved by Cabinet on  29 July,2020.NEP 2020 is built on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability.NEP 2020 is  aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and aims to transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, suited to 21st century needs and aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student.

Salient features of NEP 2020:-

1.Early Childhood Care & Education with  new Curricular and Pedagogical Structure:-
The 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively with emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education, .  This will bring the previously uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.

2.Ensuring Universal Access at all levels of school education:-
It gives emphasis on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- pre school to secondary. Infrastructure support will be provided in  innovative education centres to bring back dropouts into the mainstream, tracking of students and their learning levels, facilitating multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes, association of counselors or well-trained social workers with schools, open learning for classes 3,5 and 8 through NIOS and State Open Schools, secondary education programs equivalent to Grades 10 and 12, vocational courses, adult literacy and life-enrichment programs are some of the proposed ways for achieving this. About 2 crore out of school children will be brought back into main stream under NEP 2020.

3.Emphasis will be given on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools .

4. Vocational Education to start  from Class 6 with Internships.

5.Teaching upto at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue/ regional language.

6.Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50 % by 2035 ;  3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.

7.Higher Education curriculum to have flexibility of subjects.

8.Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate  transfer of credits.

9.Multiple Entry / Exit to be allowed with appropriate certification.

10.National Research Foundation to be established to foster a strong research culture.

11.Affiliation System to be phased out in 15 years with graded autonomy to colleges.

12.It advocates increased use of technology with equity ,National Educational Technology Forum to be created.Appropriate integration of technology into all levels of education will be done to improve classroom processes, support teacher professional development, enhance educational access for disadvantaged groups and streamline educational planning, administration and management.

13.It emphasizes setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.

14. It promotes Multilingualism in both schools and Higher Education. National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit , Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation to be set up.

15.Assessment Reforms
    It  envisages a shift from summative assessment to regular and formative assessment, which is more competency-based, promotes learning and development, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity.A new National Assessment Centre,

16.Robust Teacher Recruitment and Career Path:-
Teachers will be recruited through robust, transparent processes. Promotions will be merit-based, with a mechanism for multi-source periodic performance appraisals and available progression paths to become educational administrators or teacher educators. A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations.

17.Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education:-
NEP 2020 envisages clear, separate systems for policy making, regulation, operations and academic matters. States/UTs will set up independent State School Standards Authority (SSSA). Transparent public self-disclosure of all the basic regulatory information, as laid down by the SSSA, will be used extensively for public oversight and accountability. The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through consultations with all stakeholders.

18.Holistic Multidisciplinary Education:-
The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic UG education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and  multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period. 

19.An Academic Bank of Credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different  HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned.

20. Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to  be set up as models  of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.

21. An Academic Bank of Credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different  Higher Education Institutions so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned.

22.Regulation:-
Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. HECI to have  four independent verticals  - National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC ) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding,  and National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation.

23.Online Education and Digital Education:-
A dedicated unit for the purpose of building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the MHRD to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education.

23.Open and Distance Learning:-
This will be expanded to play a significant role in increasing GER. Measures such as online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services, credit-based recognition of MOOCs, etc., will be taken to ensure it is at par with the highest quality in-class programmes.
 
24.Financing Education:-
The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP as early as possible.

25.Teacher Education:-
A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT.

26.Technology in education:-
 An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.

Ref:-PIB,MHRD
Image -The Hindu

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

“No-touch” & “Painless” device for non-invasive screening of bilirubin level in new-born baby developed by SNBNCBS

“AJO-Neo” -“No-touch” & “Painless” device for non-invasive screening of bilirubin level in new-born baby developed by Professor Samir K. Pal & his group at S.N. Bose National Centre For Basic Sciences (SNBNCBS), Kolkata, an autonomous research Institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

It will help in reduction in testing time of bilirubin level and since it is non-contact and non -invasive so it will be convenient to test bilirubin level of baby without any pain.

Operation of device is based on non-contact and non-invasive spectrometry-based techniques for measurement of neonatal bilirubin level as an alternative of total serum bilirubin (TSB) test without limitations of other available bilirubin meters.

Salient features of Ajo-Neo are:-
1.It is reliable in measuring bilirubin levels in preterm, and term neonates.
2. It can deliver an almost instantaneous report (about 10 seconds) to a concerned doctor, who is sitting 10000 km away from the point of care.


The Technology has been transferred by the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), an enterprise of DSIR, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India in the presence of Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST to a Vijayawada based company, M/s Zyna Medtech Private Limited.

Ref:- PIB

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Four schemes launched for promotion of domestic manufacturing of bulk drugs and medical devices parks in India

DV Sadananda Gowda ,Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers launched four schemes of  Department of Pharmaceuticals for promotion of domestic manufacturing of bulk drugs and medical devices parks in India on July 27,2020.
The government has released guidelines for four schemes to boost domestic manufacturing of bulk drugs and medical devices on July 27 ,2020.

Aim:-
To reduce dependency on import and to make India self-reliant in manufacturing pharmaceuticals raw materials such as drug intermediates, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) ,medical devices, Key Starting Materials (KSMs).


DV Sadananda Gowda said on occasion that this in line with the the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, and his clarion call for making India Atma Nirbhar in pharma sector. For this the Government of India has approved four schemes, two each for Bulk Drugs and Medical Devices parks.He urged the industry and the States to come forward and participate in these schemes.

He said , India is often referred to as ‘the pharmacy of the world’ and this has been proved true especially in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic when India continued to export critical life saving medicines to needy countries even during the countrywide lockdown. However, despite these achievements, it is a matter of concern that our country is critically dependent on imports for basic raw materials, viz. Bulk Drugs (Key Starting Materials (KSMs)/ Drug Intermediates (DIs) and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs)) that are used to produce some of the essential medicines. Similarly in medical devices sector, our country is dependent on imports for 86% of its requirements of medical devices. 

Schemes are as follows:-
1.Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for promoting domestic manufacturing of Medical Devices .

2. Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials (KSMs) I Drug Intermediates (Dis) I Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in India.

3.Scheme for promotion of Bulk Drug Parks.

4.Scheme for promotion of Medical Devices Parks.

Salient features of the above four schemes are:-
1.Scheme is open for applications for a period of 120 days from the date of issuance of guidelines and the approval will be given to the selected applicants within 90 days from the closure of application window. Applications will be received only through an online portal. The total financial outlay of the scheme is Rs. 6,940 crore.

2.Scheme for promotion of Bulk Drug Parks foresee creation of 3 bulk drug parks in the country. The grant-in-aid will be 90% of the project cost in case of North-East and hilly States and 70% in case of other States. Maximum grant-in-aid for one bulk drug park is limited to Rs.1000 crore. States will be selected through a challenge method. The States interested in setting up the parks will have to ensure assured 24*7 supply of electricity and water to the bulk drug units located in the park and offer competitive land lease rates to bulk drug units in the park. The location of proposed park from environmental angle and logistics angle would be taken into account while selecting the States. The States getting top 3 ranks will be selected.The creation of a centre of excellence is also envisaged to enable an ecosystem for Research and Development. The total financial outlay of the scheme is Rs. 3,000 crore.

3.Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for promoting domestic manufacturing of Medical Devices: It intends to boost domestic manufacturing of medical devices in four target segments by giving financial incentives on sales to a maximum number of 28 selected applicants for a period of 5 years. Financial incentive will be given at a rate of 5% of the sales of domestically manufactured medical devices. The incentives would be subject to annual ceilings communicated in the approval letter the incentives would be available from FY 2021-22. 
Four target segments are:-
A. Cancer care / Radiotherapy medical devices
B. Radiology & Imaging medical devices (both ionizing & non-ionizing   radiation products) and Nuclear Imaging devices
C. Anesthetics& Cardio-Respiratory medical devices including catheters of Cardio Respiratory Category & Renal Care medical devices
D. AII Implants including implantable electronic devices
The total financial outlay of the scheme is Rs.3,420 crore. 

Other points of schemes are:-
1.Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes for promoting domestic manufacturing of  DIs and APIs, KSMs and medical devices will boost domestic manufacturing of 53 bulk drugs, on which India is critically dependent on imports. 

2.List of 41 products contained in the scheme guidelines will enable production of 53 bulk drugs in India.

3. A maximum of 136 manufacturers selected under the scheme will be given financial incentive as a fixed percentage of their domestic sales of these 41 products manufactured locally with required level of domestic value addition. 

4.The incentives would be subject to annual ceilings as communicated in the approval letter. 

5.Period for which incentive will be given - 6 years.

6.Rate of incentives -
  A.For fermentation based product - 20% for first four years, 15% for the fifth year and 5% for the  sixth year.
     B.For chemically synthesised products-  10% for all six years

7.Selected manufacturers shall have to complete committed investment above a threshold investment mandated for each product and achieve a prescribed minimum installed capacity before they are eligible to receive incentives. Threshold investment is Rs 400 crore for four fermentation based products and Rs 50 crore for ten fermentation based products. Similarly, threshold investment is Rs 50 crore for four chemically synthesised products, and Rs 20 crore for 23 chemically synthesised products.

8.The incentives for fermentation based products would be available from financial year 2023-24.
   For chemically synthesised products the incentives would be available from FY 2022-23.

Ref:- PIB

Monday, July 27, 2020

RBI extends $400 million currency swap facility to Sri Lanka


The Reserve Bank of India has agreed to a USD 400 million currency swap facility for Sri Lanka till November 2022 to boost the foreign reserves and ensure the financial stability of the country.
The  virtual meeting was attended by officials from the Ministry of Finance,Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EXIM Bank with representatives of the Sri Lankan government.Currency swap will be under  the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) framework.

What is a Currency Swap?
A currency swap is a transaction in which two parties exchange an equivalent amount of money with each other but in different currencies. The parties are essentially loaning each other money and will repay the amounts at a specified date and exchange rate. The purpose could be to hedge exposure to exchange-rate risk, to speculate on the direction of a currency, or to reduce the cost of borrowing in a foreign currency.Central banks and Governments engage in currency swaps with foreign counterparts to meet short term foreign exchange liquidity requirements or to ensure adequate foreign currency to avoid Balance of Payments (BOP) crisis till longer arrangements can be made.

How a Currency Swap Works
In a currency swap, or FX swap, the counter-parties exchange given amounts in the two currencies. For example, one party might receive 100 million Euro , while the other receives $117 million. This implies a Euro/USD exchange rate of 1.17. At the end of the agreement, they will swap again at either the original exchange rate or another pre-agreed rate, closing out the deal.


The decision comes five months after Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had visited New Delhi and a recent bilateral discussion on rescheduling Colombo’s outstanding debt repayment to India.
Sri Lanka owes USD 960 million to India.

Government and industry representatives from both countries also participated in a webinar on ‘Deepening Economic Collaboration between India and Sri Lanka’, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in association with other institutes.
Sri Lanka highlighted that non-tariff barriers in receiving countries create difficulties in market access.

A nontariff barrier is a way to restrict trade by using barriers other than a tariff. These include quotas, embargoes, sanctions, and levies.

To resolve that, it urged FICCI to collaborate with the Sri Lankan Mission in New Delhi to help boost the export of its spices and concentrates to the Indian market.

Ref:-The Hindu ,Investopedia

Sunday, July 26, 2020

RBI releases Financial Stability Report

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its Financial Stability Report (FSR) , July 2020 (21st issue of FSR) on 24 July,2020.

The FSR reflects the collective assessment of the Sub-Committee of the Financial Stability
 and Development Council (FSDC - headed by the Governor of RBI) on risks to financial stability and the resilience of the financial system in the context of contemporaneous issues relating to development and regulation of the financial sector.

Key Points-
1.Increase in Bad Loans:
The RBI warned that the Gross Non-performing Assets (GNPA) ratio of all                            Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) may increase from 8.5% in March 2020                          to 12.5% by March 2021.
The GNPA ratio may also worsen to as high as 14.7% by the end of the current                        financial year, if the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic would                        be ‘very severe’.

2.The capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR) of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) edged down to 14.8 per cent in March 2020 from 15.0 per cent in September 2019 .

3.The provision coverage ratio (PCR) improved to 65.4 per cent from 61.6 per cent over this period.

4.Bank credit, which had considerably weakened during the first half of 2019-20, slid down further in the subsequent period with the moderation becoming broad-based across bank groups.

5.Network analysis reveals that total bilateral exposures among entities in the financial system declined marginally during 2019-20; with the inter-bank market continuing to shrink and with better capitalisation of public sector banks (PSBs), there would be reduction in contagion losses to the banking system under various scenarios in relation to a year ago.

6.The overleveraged non-financial sector, simmering global geopolitical tensions, and economic losses on account of the pandemic are major downside risks to global economic prospects.


Risk to Financial System:
The RBI said that the Indian financial system remained stable, despite the significant downside risks to economic prospects.
The downside risks to short term economic prospects are high due to the lockdown induced disruptions to both supply and demand side factors, diminished consumer confidence and risk aversion.


Source -RBI and The Hindu

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Why a cashless economy in India could be better?

The narrative
 Our latent behaviour has changed due to Covid 19.. Washing of hand has become a necessity during Covid 19. Corporations have suddenly preferred meeting through Videoconferencing over in-person meetings . Strict no-contact sales policies are being implemented over the previous physical touch method of good old salesmanship. 

Across the globe, people now fear from handling physical currency. And although medical experts have view that cash is still safe to use so long as you keep washing hands, the emergence of cashless economy has received a considerable boost.

In India, citizens who mostly use cash are now suddenly using digital payments for grocery and online deliveries. In June, the value of transactions on UPI and other payment wallets reached an all time high. Electronic Fund Transfers from banks have also increased from April,2020. People do not want to touch cash .Mobile sales through ecommerce sites have increased as compared to mobile sales through shops during April -June 2020.
.
Because although we think that there’s very little cost associated with carrying cash, it simply isn’t true. We pay to access cash all the time. We pay for it while we travel by various transport means to banks, ATMs or other access points that disburse cash. We pay for it when these financial institutions charge a convenience fee. We pay for it when we queue at the salary office and wait for obscenely long hours. We pay for it when we experience accidental loss or theft and more importantly we pay for it by foregoing better opportunities. After all, cash kept at home yields no interest. And slowly but surely, these costs begin to add up.

For instance, residents of Delhi together spend 60 lakh hours and 9.1 crores to obtain cash. That’s not an insignificant sum by any account (if you account for all the time wasted). And that’s not all. We haven’t yet attributed the cost to the government.

Consider the tax gap — the difference between total taxes owed and taxed paid on time. Due to unreported and under-reported cash transactions, the government often  receive less tax revenues that otherwise would have padded our coffers. Experts contest that the tax gap in India could be as high as two-thirds of overall taxes owed.

It’s no wonder then that the government has pushed so hard for a cashless economy specially after  demonetisation in 2016. If anything, transitioning to digital transactions could unlock considerable value for both consumers and the state. However there is a problem.

Check out this chart from the Harvard Business Review


The horizontal axis measures the cost of cash for different countries. As you can see India is on the extreme right suggesting we incur significant costs while transacting with cash. But then there’s the vertical axis pointing to the Digital Evolution Index score. It’s a proxy to gauge digital readiness — a measure to give you some idea of how prepared we are as a country to transition to a cashless economy.

And strictly based on the current state of digital infrastructure in this country, it’s safe to say that we still have a lot of work to do. Now we should note that this information is from 2016. And we have come a long way since then. However, there are still some fundamental challenges plaguing the country’s digital payment landscape. Around 20% Indians still don’t have a bank account. And although smartphone adoption has certainly increased in India, there’s a good proportion that still doesn’t own devices that support payment apps. Then there’s the trust issue. Despite what the government preaches, Indians still have a problem trusting digital payments and there's a lot of inertia here.

However Covid -19 has offered us the perfect condition for encouraging use of digital payment methods. If the government is really serious about reducing costs across the board and accelerating the advent of a cashless economy, now is the time to prioritise investments in digital readiness.

Ref:-Finshots

Friday, July 24, 2020

Consumer Protection Act, 2019

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has comeinto effect from July 20, replacing the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Salient features of Act:-
1.Consumer Protection Councils
2.Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)
3. Simplified Dispute Resolution Process
4. Mediation
5.Product Liability
6. Rules on e-commerce and direct selling
7. Penalty for adulteration of products/spurious goods
Explanation of above salient features :-
1.Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will be established to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers. The CCPA will be empowered to conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints / prosecution, order recall of unsafe goods and services, order discontinuance of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements, impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements. The rules for prevention of unfair trade practice by e-commerce platforms will also be covered under this Act.

2.Under this act every e-commerce entity is required to provide information relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, grievance redressal mechanism, payment methods, security of payment methods, charge-back options, etc. including country of origin which are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage on its platform

3.Act introduces the concept of product liability and brings within its scope, the product manufacturer, product service provider and product seller, for any claim for compensation.

4.Act provides for simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process in the consumer commissions, which includes -
A.Empowerment of the State and District Commissions to review their own orders,
B. Enabling a consumer to file complaints electronically and file complaints in consumer Commissions that have jurisdiction over the place of his residence,
C. Videoconferencing for hearing and deemed admissibility of complaints if the question of admissibility is not decided within the specified period of 21 days.

5.Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism of Mediation has been provided in the new Act. A complaint will be referred by a Consumer Commission for mediation, wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it. Mediation will be held in the Mediation Cells to be established under the aegis of the Consumer Commissions.  There will be no appeal against settlement through mediation.

6.There are provisions for filing complaints electronically, credit of amount due to unidentifiable consumers to Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF).  The State Commissions will furnish information to Central Government on a quarterly basis on vacancies, disposal, pendency of cases and other matters. 

7.Act provides for punishment by a competent court for manufacture or sale of adulterant/spurious goods. The court may, in case of first conviction, suspend any licence issued to the person for a period of up to two years, and in case of second or subsequent conviction, cancel the licence.

  1. Definition of consumer:A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration.
A. It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose.
B. It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.
  1. Six consumer rights have been defined in the act:-
  • Right to Safety.
  • Right to be Informed.
  • Right to Choose.
  • Right to be heard.
  • Right to seek Redressal.
  • Right to Consumer Education.

Source -PIB
Image source -Himachal abhiabhi