PUNE: Now, students will study the rights and responsibilities of consumers, as the University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed all educational institutions to include modules on consumer studies as an elective course in the academics.
This is in order to strengthen the consumer movement in India by creating awareness among all segments of consumers and include college students as well. The paper named ‘Consumer Affairs’ will be as an undergraduate course in any discipline. The paper will consist of five units and have 100 marks.
The UGC letter reads, “Greater involvement of students in the consumer movement will enhance the pace at which the ideals of the movement percolate far and wide in society. Understandably, one of the ways in which this objective can be realised is through the inclusion of modules on consumer studies as an elective course in the universities and college syllabi.”
“Earlier, consumer clubs were established in many schools in Maharashtra. However, the practice stopped after a while,” said Suryakant Pathak, consumer rights activist. “In Pune, 5 to 6 schools would conduct lectures on consumer rights and responsibilities, but eventually they stopped.
“Inadequate funds allocated by the State government was a hitch in smooth conduct of these sessions. This initiative will be helpful only if a systematic structure is formulated and proper funds are availed to educational institutions to run the course,” added Pathak.
Vivek Velankar, consumer rights activist, said, “This sounds theoretically a good idea. Even if 10 per cent of it serves the purpose, it will be useful. But they have made it an elective course. Unless it is a compulsory subject, students might not take it seriously. It will end up being a subject to just score marks and pass, failing to serve the need of this course.”
- The paper, titled ‘Consumer Affairs’ will include the social framework of consumer rights and legal framework of protecting consumer rights.
- It aims to provide an understanding of the procedure to redress consumer complaints and the role of various agencies in establishing product and service standards.