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Puducherry government announces Rs 114.45 crore flood relief for affected families

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Puducherry government is disbursing Rs 114.45 crore towards payment of flood relief to more than 2.86 lakh families affected by the floods. Each affected family would get Rs 4,000.

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Puducherry government is disbursing Rs 114.45 crore towards payment of flood relief to more than 2.86 lakh families affected by the floods. Each affected family would get Rs 4,000.The payment was being made to all families covered under Public Distribution System through their bank accounts under ‘direct benefit transfer’ system, an official release said.Also read: Chennai floods: PM Modi announces Rs 1,000 crore relief, TN CM Jayalalithaa demands addl Rs 5000 crore<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said those who were yet to have a bank account could open them under ‘zero balance’ scheme with the banks after submitting address proof.For details of getting the relief, cardholders could approach taluk offices or the directorate of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs or the Collector’s office the release said.

Pulses price rise: Gujarat, Tamil nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana sell tur dal at lower prices

The Centre had asked the state government to have meeting with millers, wholesalers and retailers to make pulses available in retail markets at reasonable prices.
Representational Image
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To give relief to common man from skyrocketing prices of pulses, four state governments including Gujarat have started selling tur dal at a lower price of Rs 120-145/kg at retail points.Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are distributing one kg of tur dal at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 50 through ration shops, while Tamil Nadu is selling urad and Canadian lentils at Rs 30 per kg to all consumers.”Besides continuing enforcement measures to check hoarding of pulses, state governments have taken proactive steps to make pulses available at reasonable prices… these initiatives by states will help in keeping prices of pulses at affordable rates,” an official release issued by the Consumer Affairs Ministry said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to reports received from the states, tur dal rate for retail distribution has been fixed at Rs 140/kg in Gujarat, Rs 120-140 in Chhattisgarh, Rs 145 in Uttarkhand.The Centre had asked the state government to have meeting with millers, wholesalers and retailers to make pulses available in retail markets at reasonable prices, it added. In Gujarat, millers have agreed to supply tur dal at Rs 135/kg, wholesaler will charge 1 per cent commission on it, while in Chhattisgarh, 1-2 kg of tur dal is being distributed at Rs 120-140 per kg in 17 districts through 150 outlets. In Uttarkhand tur dal is being supplied at Rs 145/kg in Dehradun, Haridwar as well as Udhamsingh Nagar and instructions have been given to all districts to provide pulses at this rate via ration shops in the state.Stating that some states already distributing pulses through public distribution system (PDS), the ministry said, “Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are distributing one kg of tur dal at Rs 50/kg for BPL and AAY families.”In Haryana under the Dal Roti Scheme, 2.5 kg of chana is being provided for BPY and AAY families via ration shops. The state government has directed cooperative Hafed to procure pulses from the market and sell at Rs 50 per kg through its 70-80 centres, the statement added. In Himachal Pradesh too, chana and masoor dal are being sold at Rs 40-50 per kg through PDS outlets.Dal prices have risen across the country due to a shortfall in domestic output by two million tonnes in 2014-15 hit by poor rains. There is also global shortage of lentils. Nearly 75,000 tonnes of pulses were seized from hoarders in raids across 13 states till last week as part of the measures to control retail prices.As per the Consumer Affairs Ministry’s data, retail prices were still ruling high at Rs 200/kg today, while Urad is selling at Rs 190/kg, moong dal at Rs 130/kg, masoor dal at Rs 110/kg and gram at Rs 85/kg.

Arvind Kejriwal blames hoarding, commodity stock market for pulses price rise

“Huge hoarding in dal producing states, and commodity stock market is also among 2 big factors,” he said.

He questioned the Maharashtra government’s move to remove stock limits of pulses earlier this year.
Arijit Sen
File Photo
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday blamed “hoarding” and commodity stock market behind skyrocketing retail prices of pulses and questioned the Maharashtra government’s move to remove stock limits of pulses earlier this year, which has been recently reimposed.”Maha and some dal producing states had stock limits. It was removed early this year. Why? It encouraged huge hoarding. Less dal production. Just one reason for rising dal prices – huge hoarding in dal producing states, and commodity stock market is also among 2 big factors,” Kejriwal tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government has reimposed stock holding limits on pulses traders on October 19 to improve the supply in the state. It had withdrawn the limits on April 23 this year. Nearly 75,000 tonnes of pulses have been seized from hoarders in raids across 13 states as part of the measures to control the retail prices of dal that have touched up to Rs 210 per kg.As per the Consumer Affairs Ministry’s data, retail prices touched as high as Rs 210/kg yesterday. Urad was selling at Rs 190/kg, moong dal at Rs 130/kg, masoor dal at Rs 110/kg and gram at Rs 85/kg.

Pulses: Experts say government firefight too late

Govt says 5,000 tonne imported dal has arrived and 3,290 raids have been conducted on hoarders; economists say problem structural

Responding to a food crisis in the making, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday, announced that 5,000 tonne of imported dal had arrived in the country and was being distributed.He said there had been 3,290 raids on hoarders across the country in the past few days. He was briefing the press after a meeting of group of ministers to discuss measures to check the spiralling prices of pulses in India attending a Union Cabinet meeting held to review the situation.The Group of Ministers meet, comprising Union parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu, transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari and commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman, came on the heels of 35,000 mt of pulses seized from hoarders across the country. Maharashtra led the pack with 23,340 mt of pulses seized by the state government during 276 raids carried out in 16 districts.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Media reports from the Cabinet meeting said that Maharashtra government’s enforcement of de-hoarding measures was taken note off, and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs is working with other states to enforce such measures against hoarders and black marketeers of pulses.The Cabinet also took note of the falling prices of some variety of pulses; tur dal went from Rs 210 to Rs 205, moong fell to Rs 130, masoor to Rs 110 and gram to Rs 82 while urad remained static at Rs 198, according to the government data.Though the government has now created a buffer stock of 40,000 tonne, imposed stock limits on traders as well as departmental stores, licensed food processors, importers and exporters and is importing pulses at zero import duty, these measures seem too little too late. According to agricultural economists this crisis is a result of short- and long-term failure in planning by the government.The current shortfall of 2 mt has resulted from back to back bad monsoons and drought conditions in 2014 and 2015, something predicted well in advance by the weather department and, therefore, anticipated by the government. “They should have stocked up on pulses earlier this year and brought them into the market, when the prices were low,” said Himanshu, associate professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, who specialises in agriculture and developmental economics, along with poverty, inequality, employment. “This is festival time when demand for pulses is even higher. High prices give rise to all sorts of tendencies, such as hoarding,” he said, as is evidenced in Wednesday’s seizure of pulses hoarded in various states.”This is a small, tightly controlled market. Once the international market knows that prices are high, and there is great demand, there is additional pressure,” said Himanshu.Tracing the recent history of pulses’ demand in India, Himanshu said till the mid-1990s, the country was self-sufficient. Post that, as incomes rose, and diets diversified, the demand for pulses rose too, but the supply did not keep up. Pulses, grown in rain-fed areas, with less that 10% of the irrigated land used for them, were especially susceptible to monsoon failures. Successive governments too did not bring pulses under the scope of the targeted public distribution system nor offer the stability of the minimum support price to farmers. These measures remained focused on rice and wheat crops, ignoring pleas by nutritionists and agricultural experts to also look at pulses.Himanshu said that since pulses have not been popular in western countries, they have never been the focus of scientific research, to create better yielding crop, such as hybrid strains of wheat and rice. No such research has taken off in India either, he said.Therefore, a combination of government oversight and lack of innovation kept the supply of pulses in the country limited, and outpaced by the demand.

Over 35,000 tons pulses seized from hoarders in 10 states: Centre

To control skyrocketing prices, the Centre has taken several measures such as creating a buffer stock of 40,000 tonnes, sale of imported pulses at cheaper rates and imposition of stock limits on traders as well as departmental stores, licensed food processors, importers and exporters.

Congress workers distributing Tur Daal packets to slum dwellers during their protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over price hike of pulses, in Bhopal on Tuesday.

PTI
The Centre on Wednesday said over 35,000 tonnes of pulses have been seized from 10 states in two days after the state governments intensified crackdown against hoarding and black marketing of the commodity.”De-hoarding operations have been further intensified by the states to check hoarding of pulses. More than 35,000 tonnes of pulses have been seized in 10 states,” the Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.The state governments were exhorted to carryout surprise inspections and raids to prevent hoarding. As a result, a total of 35,288 tonnes of pulses have been seized during 2,704 raids carried out in 10 states, it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A maximum quantity of 23,340 tonnes was seized in Maharashtra, followed by 4,525.19 tonnes in Chhattisgarh, 2,546 tonnes in Telangana, 2,295 tonnes in Madhya Pradesh, 1,168 tonnes in Haryana, 859.8 tonnes in Andhra Pradesh, 479.6 tonnes in Karanataka, 68.47 tonnes in Rajasthan, 4.32 tonnes in Tamil Nadu and 2.44 tonnes in Himachal Pradesh, the statement added. The Centre has also asked Haryana state cooperative Hafed has been asked to procure pulses from the market and sell thought its outlets in the state.In Uttarkhand, mandi samitis have opened retail outlets in Dehradun, Haridwar and Udhamsingh Nagar for selling tur dal at Rs 145/kg. The state government has also been directed to distribute pulses at decided rate via ration shops, it added. In Delhi, tur dal is being sold at Rs 120/Kg through outlets of Safal and Kendriya Bhandar, while in Tamil Nadu, the government is selling 1 kg urad at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 30 per kg. Whereas the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments are distributing one kg of red gram at Rs 50 per kg to provide relief to consumers.Following action against hoarding in some states, tur prices on Wednesday declined marginally to Rs 205 per kg from Rs 210 yesterday in retail markets. Prices of moong, masoor and gram (chana) also showed a slight decline to Rs 130, Rs 110 and 82, respectively, while urad rates remained unchanged at Rs 198 today from over yesterday’s level, government data showed. Prices have shot up due to a fall in output by two million tonnes in 2014-15 on deficient and untimely rains.To control skyrocketing prices, the Centre has taken several measures such as creating a buffer stock of 40,000 tonnes, sale of imported pulses at cheaper rates and imposition of stock limits on traders as well as departmental stores, licensed food processors, importers and exporters.

Bihar Elections 2015: A glimpse into Ram Vilas Paswan’s political journey

Paswan is probably the only Union Minister to have held crucial positions under six different prime ministers.

Many thought Ram Vilas Paswan’s political career and his Lok Janshakti Party would come to an end after the 2009 general elections, when he couldn’t secure his own Hajipur seat. It was the same constituency where he had once made an impressive debut, holding a Guinness World Record of winning with a margin of 4.24 lakh votes in the 1977 general elections. In the 2005 Assembly Election, his party could have played king maker with 29 seats at hand, but he chose not to support either the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) or the Janata Dal (United), resulting into no government formation. In a re-election the same year, his party was reduced to 10 seats and in the 2009 general elections, it couldn’t win a single seat, with party chief Paswan himself losing the contest.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But all this is in the past and Paswan is back in the game. He is one of those who has accurately anticipated situations and always knew who to stand with (discounting his failure in 2009). Paswan was Railway Minister in the HD Deve Gowda led non-Congress non-BJP government in 1996; he was Minister of Communications and Information Technology in the AB Vajpayee-led NDA government in 1999 and then held the post of Minister for more than one portfolio in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, after he had parted ways with the BJP in 2002 on the grounds of the Gujarat riots.Paswan is probably the only Union Minister to have held crucial positions under six different prime ministers – VP Singh, HD Deve Gowda, IK Gujaral, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi.Currently, Paswan is the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution under Narendra Modi.He comes from a Scheduled Caste background and is known as a dalit leader. His party has been allotted 40 seats in the upcoming elections.Key Achievement:Paswan has been successful in portraying himself as a leader of dalits. He founded the Dalit Sena, which is known for working towards the welfare of dalits in Bihar.The portrait of Dr. BR Ambedkar in the Central Hall of the Parliament House is also a result of Paswan’s insistence – a long-standing dalit demand that Paswan fulfilled in 1990.It was Paswan’s effort that convinced the government to extend reservation in employment for those who converted to Buddhism from Schedule Castes.Key FailureUnfortunately all the above achievements are glories of past and Paswan doesn’t have much to show in the last one and a half decade. Even as he managed to be on the ruling side for almost his entire career, Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party could never attain the strength of an individual fighter and has always needed someone else’s backing.People like Surajbhan Singh, convicted in a murder case, was offered a ticket by LJP. After Singh was lodged in jail, his wife Veena Singh was brought in. She is currently an MP from Munger parliamentary constituency.Then, Ranjit Singh alias Ranjit ‘Don’ is being fielded by the LJP in this election, and was offered a ticket in the past as well. He was the alleged kingpin in leaking question papers of examinations like CAT, IIM, AIIMS and CBSE medical entrance examinations in 2003. Don is also on the CBI’s radar for his alleged involvement in the Vyapam scam.Ram Vilas Paswan is also criticised and accused of nepotism in favour of his brother Pashupati Kumar Paras being the state chief and his son Chirag Paswan being the Parliamentary Chairperson of LJP. His brother Ram Chandra Paswan was given a ticket for Lok Sabha in the 2014 general election. Pashupati’s son Prince Raj has also been brought in with an MLA ticket this election. Sarita Paswan, one more relative, is in the LJP’s list for the upcoming assembly election.His Political JourneyBeginning1969: Elected in Bihar legislative assembly on Samyukta Socialist Party’s ticket
1974: Joined Lok Dal and became its General Secretary
1975: Arrested during the emergency and remained in jail for the entire period.
As a Member of Parliament1977: Elected an MP on Janata Party’s ticket with a record victory
Was chosen again in 1980, 1984, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2014
As a Union Minister1989: Minister of Labour and Welfare
1996: Minister of Railways
1999: Minister of Communications and Information Technology
2001: Minister of Mines
2004: Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers
2014: Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

Maggi noodles ad: Amitabh Bachchan seeks dismissal of complaint

Bachchan said he had acted in 190 Hindi films and the union government honoured him with Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan awards. He had also won many film awards.

Amitabh Bachchan

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan on Friday sought dismissal of a complaint against him by a consumer rights’ activist for promoting Maggi noodles, banned in some states in the wake of detection of high levels of MSG and lead, saying it was “completely infructuous.” In his affidavit filed before Tamil Nadu State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission through his counsel, the actor said he had agreed to promote the noodles and variants under the brand name Maggi only from June 5, 2012 to September 5, 2013 when there was no complaint about its quality.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bachchan said he had not been promoting the products since September 5, that the retailer here had been granted all statutory approvals for the product and that there were no adverse reports on the products or ingredients during that period.He submitted that complainant K Manavalan had failed to ascertain and verify the facts and without due cause had made him a party to the complaint with ‘ulterior motive.’ “The petition was liable to be dismissed,” the actor said.Bachchan said he had acted in 190 Hindi films and the union government honoured him with Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan awards. He had also won many film awards.The complaint was frivolous and vexatious and hence the forum should direct Manavalan to delete his name in the complaint and consequently dismiss it with costs, he said.When the case came up on Friday, Judicial member K Annamalai and member M Murugesan directed Manavalan to submit his reply on September 9, 2015 after he sought time to do so.Manavalan, in his petition, pointed out that the Madurai bench of state Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had issued notices to seven persons, including Chairman-cum- Managing Director of Nestle India Ltd, actors Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Preity Zinta and the Commissioner of Food Safety (Chennai).It had also directed the designated officer of the Deputy Director of Health Services, Madurai, to lift at random samples of Maggi noodles with tastemaker from different shops and to test them at the appropriate laboratory, he said.The bench had directed the officer to file a test report along with opposite parties’ opinion on safety of consuming Maggi noodles.”Prima facie case made out in the complaint. Considering the seriousness of the allegations pertaining to the health and public safety of the consumers, we are inclined to grant the relief sought for by the petitioner,” the Commission had said.The petitioner had also sought the forum’s directions to Nestle India not to distribute Maggi noodles and to withdraw it from sale, saying it was in violation of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.Manavalan had sought a direction from the forum to the actors not to promote the product through advertisements containing ‘false representations’ about the quality and safety of the product.

Maggi row: Despite Bombay HC verdict, will go ahead with Rs 640 cr suit, says govt

New Delhi: Unfazed by the Bombay High Court order quashing the ban on Maggi noodles, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said the verdict does not alter the grounds on which it has claimed Rs 640 crore in damages from Nestle for misleading advertisement and unfair trade practices.

Nestle India got a reprieve last week from the High Court which lifted the ban slapped by food regulators on nine variants of the popular instant noodles across the country and asked the company to go for fresh tests of the product.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

On behalf of the consumers, the Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry separately filed a Class Action Suit against Nestle India before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) last week, using a hitherto unused provision in the three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act.

Stating that the High Court order would not alter the grounds on which the case has been filed at NCDRC, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the government would not withdraw its petition.

The case, wherein the Centre has claimed damages worth Rs 640 crore, is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow.

“The decision of the Bombay High Court does not materially alter, either on law or on facts, the grounds urged in our complaint,” Paswan told PTI.

He was replying to a question whether the government would to drop the case against Nestle India in the wake of the High Court order.

The petition has made a case that the trade practices followed by Nestle India were “unfair, deceptive and misleading” and therefore to the detriment to the consumers, he said.

“There is no question of withdrawing our petition against the company. It has been listed before NCDRC for admission and the case is likely to be heard on Monday,” he added.

Nestle, which had to recall the popular noodles brand after orders from the central food safety regulator FSSAI and food regulators in various states, is the first foreign firm in India to face a class action suit.

The Ministry has sought Rs 284.45 crore in basic damages and further Rs 355.50 crore in punitive damages, resulting in total damages of Rs 639.95 crore from the Swiss giant.

The damage claim from Nestle for selling “defective and hazardous” Maggi noodles may rise further as the Ministry said in the petition that it is in the process of “tabulating further damages” and will seek additional damages when further facts and data emerges.

The government also wants Nestle India to pay interest at a rate of 18 per cent per annum till the date of actual payment, while it has also asked the consumer forum to order the company to take remedial measures for wrong labelling and misleading advertisements.

The amount has been proposed to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund of the government.

PTI

Maggi is back: Bombay HC quashes ban, but Nestle not out of woods just yet

In a major relief to Nestle India, the Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed the FSSAI order banning Maggi for six weeks. The order states that principles of natural justice were not followed and so the ban should be set aside. Meanwhile, even as Nestle continues to maintain that the decision to ban its product was arbitrary, the government’s claim from the company for selling “defective and hazardous” Maggi noodles may exceed Rs 640 crore as it is tabulating further damages to be sought.

The case has been heard for over a fortnight with Nestle India denying the claims of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that the instant noodle has excesses lead content.

According to PTI, a division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Burgess Colabawalla said that the “principles of natural justice” and procedures were not followed in the case. According to this report in The Times of India, the court also added that a show-cause notice was not issued before the ban.

The High Court also said that the samples were not tested at accredited laboratories raising doubts on the results. The court allowed Nestle to send five samples of each variant of noodles for fresh testing to three labs in Punjab, Hyderabad and Jaipur. If lead content is found below permissible limit by the three labs, Nestle will be allowed to manufacture Maggi noodles in India, the Bombay HC said, reported PTI.

The judges refused to grant stay on their order on a plea made by food regulators. They said the company had given an undertaking that it would not manufacture or sell Maggi noodles till the results of the three labs were received.

“The fresh tests would also take some time. Hence, there was no need to grant a stay on the order,” the judges said. The HC held that the petitions filed by Nestle challenging the nation-wide ban on Maggi noodles was maintainable and that it (the high court) had the jurisdiction to hear it under powers derived by it under Article 226 of the Constitution.
maggi-screengrabmaggi-screengrab
FSSAI and FDA had earlier banned Maggi noodles saying the samples of noodles tested by them contained ‘lead beyond permissible limit’.

Nestle had argued that its product did not contain ‘lead’ in excess of permissible ceiling and challenged the tests by FSSAI and FDA, while the food regulators had said that the lead content in the noodles detected during the tests in reputed laboratories was harmful to public health.

FSSAI had issued the order banning Maggi noodles on June 5, this year while FDA had issued similar order the next day. During a previous hearing in the court, Justices Kanade and Colabawala had asked both the sides to give their consent for fresh independent test. However, the parties could not arrive at a consensus to the suggestion mooted by the HC which today ordered fresh tests.

Nestle’s lawyer Iqbal Chhagla had earlier said the company was agreeable to the suggestion, but the tests should be conducted in the presence of a renowned scientist and the samples available with the company should be used.

Darius Khambata, appearing for FDA, had contended that one of the samples must be from the lot collected by the state FDA. “For us, consumer interest is most important…this
litigation may go on but we feel that the issue should be resolved amicably and, therefore we suggested the parties to agree to a fresh independent test,” the bench observed.

The Nestle lawyer alleged that FSSAI and FDA had violated followed principles of natural justice by not giving a hearing to the company before banning nine variants of Maggi noodles on the ground of lead content in these products were in excess of the permissible limit.

Also, though only three variants were tested, the regulators banned all nine variants of Maggi noodles, Chhagla had argued. He had said there was no substance in FSSAI’s allegation about the company destroying evidence by burning Maggi stock.

“On the contrary, we have acted on the instructions of the food regulators by destroying Maggi product,” he said.

Nestle, which had to recall the popular noodles brand after orders from the food safety regulator FSSAI, is the first foreign firm in India to face a class action suit, which was filed by the government yesterday under an hitherto unused provision of the three-decade old Consumer Protection Act.

The Consumer Affairs Ministry has filed a 45-page complaint before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to seek Rs 284.45 crore in basic damages and further Rs 355.50 crore in punitive damages, resulting in total damages of Rs 639.95 crore sought from the Swiss giant.

The first hearing of the case is expected on 14 August. The government also wants Nestle India to pay interest at a rate of 18 percent per annum till the date of actual payment, while it has also asked the consumer forum to order the company to take remedial measures for wrong labelling and misleading advertisements.

In a statement issued today, Nestle India said, “We are disappointed with the unprecedented step of filing of a complaint before the NCDRC against Nestle India.” The company also said it maintained “highest standards of food quality and safety in the manufacture of all its products” and it has a stringent program to test the ingredients that go to make Maggi noodles.

In its petition, the ministry said it is in the process of “tabulating further damages” and will seek additional damages when further facts and data emerges. The amount claimed will be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund in the interest of consumers, the ministry said. The government has based its damage claims on Nestle India’s total revenue in 2014, which stood at Rs 9,485.32 crore, of which Maggi and its variants accounted for 30 percent share at Rs 2,845.59 crore.

Maggi noodles, a popular brand of noodle manufactured in India, was banned in different states after a high level of lead along with excessive amounts of taste enhancer such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) were allegedly detected in the food item.

Lead content in 14 of 27 samples in India was allegedly found to be 2.8 PPM to 5 PPM (particle per million), which is above the prescribed limit of 2.5 PPM. Presence of excess lead is harmful for health, PTI had reported. Nestle had earlier claimed that its own tests had reported that the Maggi noodles were safe for consumption and none of the countries, where it sold the product, including in the UK, Australia and Singapore had any problems with it.

With PTI inputs

Not ‘taste bhi, health bhi’: Govt files Rs 640 cr suit against Nestle over Maggi ‘unfair trade practices’

New Delhi: Acting tough against Nestle India, the government on Tuesday filed a class action suit against the Swiss manufacturer of Maggi noodles, seeking about Rs 640 crore in damages for alleged unfair trade practices, false labelling and misleading advertisements.

The Consumer Affairs Ministry has for the first time dragged a company to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) using a provision in the nearly three- decade-old Consumer Protection Act. This comes weeks after Nestle had to withdraw its instant noodles brand Maggi from the market over allegations of high lead content and presence of MSG (monosodium glutamate).

Representative image. Image courtesy: AFPRepresentative image. Image courtesy: AFP

Representative image. Image courtesy: AFP

“We had earlier recommended filing a complaint against Nestle India over the Maggi issue before the NCDRC. Finally, we have filed the complaint,” Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told PTI. He did not share the punitive damages sought by the government, but said the new consumer protection bill, which was introduced in Parliament yesterday, would further strengthen the redressal of the consumer grievances.

A Nestle India spokesperson did not offer any comment saying the company has not received any intimation about the issue.

However, sources said, “Under section 12(1D) of the Consumer Protection Act, we have filed a complaint before NCDRC against Nestle India over the Maggi issue. We have sought damage of about Rs 640 crore.”

“For the first time, the government has filed a class action suit against Nestle India to send a strong message to companies that they cannot sell sub-standard products in the country and put consumers’ health at risk,” source added.

The minister has filed a complaint against Nestle India for causing damage to Indian consumers by allegedly involving in unfair trade practices and false labelling related to the Maggi noodles product.

In the petition filed before the NCDRC, the ministry has charged that Nestle India is misleading consumers by claiming that its Maggi noodle was healthy — “Taste bhi health bhi”.

“The company said that there is no added MSG, although it was found to be present. the ministry said in its complaint. It has also charged that there was “lead content” in Maggi noodles more than the prescribed limits and the company has not done “risk assessment nor taken product approval for the Maggi masala oats”, sources added.

Usually, NCDRC comes into the picture following complaints filed by a consumer, but a section of this Act of 1986 also provides for the government to register a complaint.

In June, food safety regulator FSSAI had banned Maggi noodles after it found excess level of lead in samples, terming it as “unsafe and hazardous” for human consumption. FSSAI had also said Nestle violated labelling regulations on taste enhancer ‘MSG’ and ordered the company to submit a compliance report on its orders.

PTI

India sues Nestle over Maggi noodles

India is suing Nestle for $100m (£64m) over “unfair trade practices” relating to the Maggi noodles health scare, an official confirms to the BBC.

PM Modi said not to make unnecessary noise over Maggi row: Ram Vilas Paswan

“Day before yesterday, the Prime Minister had also said whatever people say, we should maintain decorum on this issue (Maggi). Until we do not get the fact findings done, there is no need to create unnecessary noise,” Paswan said while sharing about the Maggi row at an Assocham event here.

Ram Vilas Paswan

Stating that the government does not want to hurt investment flow after the Maggi row, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday said the Prime Minister has asked not to make unnecessary noise over issues such as Maggi controversy till all facts come to light. Paswan favoured setting up a single coordinated body to look into many overlapping issues and expedite issuance of product clearances from various ministries in the food sector.”Day before yesterday, the Prime Minister had also said whatever people say, we should maintain decorum on this issue (Maggi). Until we do not get the fact findings done, there is no need to create unnecessary noise,” Paswan said while sharing about the Maggi row at an Assocham event here. The minister assured the food processing representatives that the government does not intend to impose ‘inspector raj’ and hurt investment flow in the sector, but asked them to maintain quality of products and do business in “honest and transparent” way.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The government wants to achieve industrial growth but not at the cost of consumer interest. Products should be of good quality and the industry should ensure,” he said. Acknowledging problems in getting product approvals, Paswan said, “There is a need to constitute a single coordinated body to look into many overlapping issues and expedite issuance of clearances from various ministries and government departments in the food sector.” “We will write to each and every department and also to the Prime Minister that we need to seriously look into such issues being raised by the industry,” he said and added that there should be a time-bound redressal to the industries grievances.Paswan said there is “media trial” going on in the Maggi row. He also spoke about certain labs finding Maggi samples conforming to food safety standards and later regulator FSSAI rejecting those test reports. “There is public perception (about Maggi). If public perception gets dented even once then it become difficult to control. These days, media trial is happening in a big way. It had happened in the case of Coca-Cola too,” he added.Consumers get affected when there are health related issues associated with products, he said, adding that there would be criticism in a Parliamentary democracy when such controversies come to light. In June, FSSAI had banned Maggi noodles after it found its 30 samples “unsafe and hazardous” for human consumption.FSSAI had also said that Nestle violated labelling regulations on taste enhancer ‘MSG’ and ordered company to submit compliance report on its orders.

No legal case filed before consumer court against Nestle: Govt

Asked the number of cases filed in NCDRC against MNCs for selling adulterated and sub-standard products including Maggi, the Minister said, “The government has not filed any case against the accused MNCs so far.”

Weeks after regulatory action forced Nestle to pull out popular snack Maggi, the government on Friday said it has not filed any legal case before National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) against the Swiss food maker for alleged sale of sub-standard items.In aftermath of the Maggi row, the Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had said that the government on behalf of consumers would initiate a class action suit before NCDRC against Nestle India.However in a written reply to Rajya Sabha on Friday, Paswan said, “No case has been filed in the NCDRC against adulteration/sub-standard products of multinational companies (MNCs) such as Maggi and other eatable products, as informed by the NCDRC.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked the number of cases filed in NCDRC against MNCs for selling adulterated and sub-standard products including Maggi, the Minister said, “The government has not filed any case against the accused MNCs so far.”But food safety regulator FSSAI has directed Nestle India to recall all the nine variants of Maggi noodles and also issued a showcause notice as to why the no objection certificates (NOCs) and product approvals granted in respect of the said products should not be withdrawn, he said.Further, NOCs of various food products (more particularly the energy drinks) manufactured by different companies including the MNCs have been withdrawn and orders issued for recall of the products, he added.Last month, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had banned Maggi for being “unsafe and hazardous” for human consumption after it found excessive levels of lead and taste enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG).Nestle India had to recall Maggi from markets, while some other companies also later withdrew similar products.

Govt has nothing against Nestle, Maggi probe created consumer awareness: Paswan

New Delhi: Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said while the government had nothing against Nestle over the Maggi noodle controversy, which was probed by an independent watchdog on safety standards, the episode had created awareness among the public.

“Our priority is consumer health. From president to peon, everyone is a consumer. We don’t want our people visit doctors after eating sub-standard food. The Maggi episode has created awareness on food safety,” said Paswan who also holds food and public distribution portfolios.

Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. PTI

Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. PTI

“We want consumers to get safe food products. We also don’t want to create panic in the market,” said the minister, speaking to reporters at the launch of a national campaign to strengthen countrywide awareness and capacity building on safe and hygienic food for all.

Paswan also sought to clarify that he considered Nestle to be a responsible company.

“The Maggi issue was an isolated case. No one has to fear. But black sheep are everywhere. One thing is: No big company wants to sell sub-standard food products. And one wrong incident does not mean that the company is bad,” he said.

Maggi noodles were banned by India’s food regulator on June 5 after a allegedly high amount of lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) were found in a sample. Following that, Nestle withdrew all the variants of the popular instant noodle but continued to maintain that its products were safe.

This was also confirmed by a host of other countries, including Britain, Singapore and Canada, found Maggi noodles that were imported there from India to be safe.

Paswan, nevertheless, sought to defend actions by Indian authorities.

“If something comes to the government’s notice, it has to take action. If some complain about the product comes to the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, the regulator), an investigation has to be done,”he said.

“That doesn’t mean that the company is good or bad,” he said, adding that it did not make any difference which was the nodal ministry for the food regulator as long as it was functioning properly.

Responding to demands of few states to shift FSSAI from the union health ministry to consumer affairs ministry, the minister added that FSSAI is an independent regulator and it does not make a difference if the authority is with health or consumer affairs ministry.

IANS

FSSAI briefs Parliamentary panel on Maggi controversy

Food safety regulator FSSAI today briefed a Parliamentary panel about the Maggi controversy and regulation of toxic contents in packaged food items.

Food safety regulator FSSAI today briefed a Parliamentary panel about the Maggi controversy and regulation of toxic contents in packaged food items.Senior officials of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Health Ministry made presentation before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food and Consumer Affairs, headed by Telugu Desam Party MP J C Divakar Reddy.FSSAI informed about all actions taken by the regulator in last one month against companies selling sub-standard food products, sources said.Consumer Affairs Ministry officials informed the panel about the growing concerns of consumers regarding safety of packaged food products, they added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month, FSSAI had banned Nestle’s Maggi, saying it is “unsafe and hazardous” for human consumption after it found excessive levels of lead and taste enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG). Consequently, Nestle had to recall Maggi from markets.With FSSAI cracking the whip further, HUL withdrew its Knorr Chinese noodles and Indo Nissin recalled its Top Ramen noodles, pending approval from the regulator.Meanwhile, the Consumer Affairs Ministry has decided to file a complaint with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on the Maggi issue.

Centre appoints 9 new Joint Secretaries

Nine new Joint Secretaries, including five IAS and four officers belonging to other services, have been appointed in the central government ministries as part of a bureaucratic reshuffle effected by the government on Tuesday.

Usha Padhee, a 1996 batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre, has been appointed as Joint Secretary for a period of five years in the Civil Aviation Ministry, an order issued by Department of Personnel and Training said. Her husband Arabinda K Padhee, also from the same batch and cadre, has been appointed as Joint Secretary in Department of Fertilizers, it said.Rajan Shukla, Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS officer, is new Joint Secretary in Department of Consumer Affairs. V Vidyawathi has been appointed as Joint Secretary in the DoPT, the order said. Parag Gupta, a 1988 batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre, has been made Joint Secretary in Ministry of Food Processing Industries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IRS officer Mohanish Verma has been appointed as Protector General of Emigrants (Joint Secretary level) in Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. Verma, a 1987 batch Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre) officer, has been appointed for five years, it said. Shri Krishna, also from the same service, has been made Deputy Director General (JS level) in UIDAI. Amitabh Gautam, an Indian Forest Service officer, is new Joint Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, the order said.Smita Kumar, a 1987 batch officer of Indian Postal Service, has been appointed as Joint Secretary in Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances.

India seeks damages from Nestle after Maggi noodle scare

The claim, made on behalf of Indian consumers, was not filed through the courts but with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which has semi-judicial powers and will decide on the merits of the case and the size of any damages.

India’s government has filed for damages from food group Nestle after a food scare involving reports of excess lead in Maggi noodles forced a nationwide recall, government officials said on Sunday.”It’s a serious matter concerning public health and the law allows us to take suo moto legal steps, or legal actions, against erring entities,” said one official in the consumer affairs department of the food ministry. The claim, made on behalf of Indian consumers, was not filed through the courts but with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which has semi-judicial powers and will decide on the merits of the case and the size of any damages.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The officials said Nestle was being accused of unfair trade practices, adding this is the first case in which the Indian government has sought damages from a multinational.A Nestle spokesman in India said the company had not received any official notification as of Sunday, and could not comment. The food ministry sources said NCDRC would notify the company when the case comes up, likely next week.Also read: Nestle India spent Rs 19 crore for quality testing and Rs 445 crore for adsNestle has been under fire in India since one regional regulator said in May that it had found evidence of excess lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in some packets of Maggi instant noodles, a cheap and hugely popular snack.Since then, several state regulators have followed, and Nestle said early on Friday that it would temporarily withdraw all Maggi noodles from the country’s shelves, though it reiterated the products were safe.Total Maggi sales in India, including sauces and condiments, account for less than 1% of Nestle’s group annual sales, but brand damage could be significant in a country where the noodles are ubiquitous, in homes and roadside eateries.Nestle fielded its global chief executive on Friday to help quell one India’s most high profile food scares in a decade. Indian newspapers reported separately on Sunday that the national food safety agency planned to inspect all Nestle’s manufacturing facilities across India as a result of the scare. Nestle has eight factories in India, though not all produce Maggi.Calls to the agency’s office went unanswered on Sunday.

Maggi noodles are safe for consumption and follow same standards worldwide, says Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke

Global CEO of Nestle Paul Bulcke addresses the media on the Maggi controversy on Friday.

Image Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Amidst the raging controversy over Maggi noodles, the Global CEO of Nestle, Paul Bulcke addressed media on Friday. At the event he said that Maggi noodles are not harmful and are safe for consumption.At the press conference Bulcke said, “Maggi noodles have been trusted in India for over 30 years. Maggi is safe for consumption, we have same quality standards everywhere in world. This controversy has led to consumers losing trust in us.”He further added, “We do not put MSG in our products. With our consumers in mind, we shall work with the authorities to clear this situation out. Product quality and safety is of paramount priority to us. We don’t have data from any of the third party tests conducted on Maggi. I am very confident that we will be back as soon as possible. That is our prime objective.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also said, “No lead found in 1,000 Maggi batches that were tested internally.”The Head of Corporate Communications, Nestle India, Sanjay Khajuria said, “We want to speak with the regulators to know what tests they have done so that we can get a report. We are trying to learn why there’s difference in test results carried out in other labs and ours.”Five states – Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand – have banned the sale of Maggi after concerns were raised over the presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead beyond permissible levels in the instant noodles.The Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand governments banned the sale for three months, while in Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, the ban will be effective for one month. Telangana government too banned Maggi on Friday in the state even before the test results were out.The state governments also ordered Nestle India to immediately withdraw the stocks.Meanwhile, Delhi has banned the product for 15 days.Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday had said that the government has decided to file a complaint regarding Maggi issue with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to further investigate the matter as the FSSAI reports might take some time to come.A case was lodged earlier against Nestle India by the UP food regulator FSDA in a local court at Bara banki in Uttar Pradesh over safety standards of its Maggi, while actors Amitabh Bachhan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta were also separately dragged to court for promoting the ‘two-minute’ noodles brand.

Boiling Maggi row goes global with Singapore ban

The row over the safety of Maggi noodles continues to be on the boil, and has now gone global, with Singapore banning the instant noodles on the direction of its Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.

Agencies
AFP photo
The row over the safety of Maggi noodles continues to be on the boil, and has now gone global, with Singapore banning the instant noodles on the direction of its Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority. The South East Asian nation has joined the Indian states of Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand in banning the product, after concerns were raised over the presence of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead beyond permissible levels. Meanwhile, a statement from parent company Nestle said that its global CEO Paul Bulcke will address a press conference on the issue today, even as it pulled Maggi off Indian market shelves.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday said that the government has decided to file a complaint regarding the Maggi issue with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to further investigate the matter as the FSSAI reports might take some time to come. A case was lodged earlier against Nestle India by the UP food regulator FSDA in a local court at Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh over safety standards of its Maggi, while actors Amitabh Bachhan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta were also separately dragged to court for promoting the ‘two-minute’ noodles brand.

Union Health Minister JP Nadda to hold meeting over the Maggi controversy

The Delhi government has banned the sale of Maggi noodles for 15 days and asked the Indian arm of Swiss manufacturer Nestle to withdraw the existing stock.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Amid row surrounding Maggi noodles, Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Wednesday assured that his Ministry will take appropriate action based on reports from all the states and said no laxity will shown.Nadda said that he will hold a meeting tonight or tomorrow to take a complete stock of the whole issue.”We had issued an advisory to all the states and told them to take samples of maggi noodles and report to us by June 1. The states have started sending their reports. Few states are still left. We are waiting for the reports to come. We are taking a view on it. Maybe tonight or tomorrow we will be having a meeting. We will take a complete picture of the issue. Accordingly action will be taken. No laxity will be there. Appropriate action will be taken,” Nadda said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Uttar Pradesh, the probe into alleged lapses of food safety standards was expanded and Maggi noodle samples are being tested across the country.However, Nestle India claimed it has got samples tested in an external laboratory as well as in-house and that the product was found “safe to eat”.Nadda said that his Ministry is seeing to it that the report from different states reach them as soon as possible so that it can take a view on the issue.”First of all, we are waiting for the reports. Let things get authenticated. Only then the ministry is going to take the view. We are trying to see to it that the reports reach us as soon as possible. Appropriate action will be taken based on the reports,” he said.Asked whether any advisory has been issued from the Union Health Ministry to the states to put the product on hold, Nadda said,”Not yet. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is going to take a complete picture after getting reports from states.”A number of states including Kerala and Haryana have also initiated steps.The Delhi government has banned the sale of Maggi noodles for 15 days and asked the Indian arm of Swiss manufacturer Nestle to withdraw the existing stock.The Delhi government has also decided to carry out lab testing of all other noodles brands available in the city.Yesterday, the Delhi government had said that it found samples of Maggi noodles “unsafe” for consumption as it contained lead beyond the permissible level in Maggi masala (tastemaker).A total of 13 samples of masala (tastemaker) were lifted by authorities from various areas of the city last week of which 10 were found unsafe.The government has also filed a complaint on its own with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)- using a provision for the first time from the nearly three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act.Describing the alleged lapses related to food safety standards in Maggi noodles as a “serious issue”, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan also said that the NCDRC will investigate the matter and take appropriate action.The Army has also issued an advisory asking its personnel not to consume Maggi noodles and directed military canteens to set aside the existing stock of the popular snack until further orders.Consumer cooperative society Kendriya Bhandar is withdrawing Maggi noodles from its 130 stores in and outside Delhi.

Haryana, West Bengal and Maharashtra collect samples for testing

Yesterday, Haryana’s Health Minister Anil Vij taking a serious note of reports of alleged lapses of food safety standards in Maggi noodles, had ordered testing of samples of the food product.

Representative Image

The Health Department officials in Haryana today started lifting samples of Maggi noodles randomly from across the state for laboratory testing amid row over alleged lapses in its food safety standards.”We have started collecting samples of Maggi noodles from across the State,” Haryana’s Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Dr D P Lochan said.He said that necessary directions had been issued to health officials in all the districts to lift the samples of Maggi noodles.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The West Bengal government has sent samples of Maggi noodles too for laboratory testing, state’s Consumer Affairs Minister Sadhan Pandey on Wednesday said.”Consumer Affairs Department has sent samples of Maggi noodles and one or two other products for testing,” Pandey said.The minister said the samples have been sent to industrial testing laboratory National Test House and if necessary, they could be sent to other laboratories as well.”The reports are expected within a few days. We will show the reports to the chief minister and then initiate action. We want to give a fair deal so that business is not hampered and people’s health is also protected,” he said.Yesterday, Haryana’s Health Minister Anil Vij taking a serious note of reports of alleged lapses of food safety standards in Maggi noodles, had ordered testing of samples of the food product.Vij had directed the DGHS to get the samples of Maggi noodles tested from all districts. The DGHS had also been directed to take immediate steps on this issue through Civil Surgeons in all districts.Vij had also said that if lapses in food safety standards are found after the tests, the state government will take neccessay action and ask for withdrawal of all stocks of Maggi noodles from the state.Even in Maharashtra has sent 15 samples from Nashik, Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur for testing.An FDA official stated, “If lead content is positive in the samples that have been collected, the product will be ban the product with same batch numbers. FDA has the power to initiate against celebrities who have endorsed the product if the result is positive.”

FDSA commissioner gives permission to file case against Nestle for maggi

Barabanki: Nestle India is heading for a legal trouble over safety standards of its famous Maggi noodles, as the Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA) has given its go-ahead to file a case against the company and five others in a local court here.

“FSDA Commissioner P P Singh has given permission to file a case against Nestle India in a local court here,” Barabanki Food Safety Officer V K Pandey said.

Representational image.Representational image.

Representational image.

The case can be filed as early as today, or early next week, he said, while adding that the permission letter was received yesterday.

The case will be lodged against the company’s Nestle Nagal Kalan Industrial Area unit (Haroli, Una in UP), Nestle India Limited, and an Easy Day outlet, among others, Pandey said.

Earlier, the Maggi samples taken for testing were found to have had monosodium glutamate and lead in excess of the prescribed limit. Officials had collected the samples from the Easy Day store in Barabanki and sent the consignment for testing, which
showed that the quantum of lead present was 17 times more than the stipulated limit, which is considered hazardous.

There were no comments from the company. The Union Consumer Affairs Ministry has also asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to look into the matter while Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said yesterday that a class action suit can also be initiated in the matter if a complaint is lodged in this regard with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).

PTI

Finally, consumer protection system to get investigating agency

The formation of the authority will also make it possible to file class action suits. Union minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said that presently, the cases filed in consumer courts dealt with individual cases and not with class action suits.

Ram Vilas Paswan

To create a stronger consumer protection framework and give teeth to consumer protection laws, the Centre is working on forming a Central Consumer Protection Authority. The authority will be empowered to investigate complaints and make recommendations to consumer courts.The formation of the authority will also make it possible to file class action suits. Union minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said that presently, the cases filed in consumer courts dealt with individual cases and not with class action suits.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If there is a problem with a bottle of packaged drinking water, the consumer can approach the consumer court and get justice for himself but not for the entire class (of consumers). If a bottle of water is bad, the entire lot may be bad, and if a car engine is defective, the entire batch may be defective,” noted Paswan, adding that the proposed authority will look at granting relief to this larger class of consumers.”The authority will make recommendations to consumer courts. Presently, the consumer courts do not have the authority to conduct investigations, which the authority will be able to,” he said. The authority will also act against misleading advertisements, “which are not based on sense,” order recall or replacement of defective products, and investigate unfair trade practices.Paswan said the Centre was working on amending the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, in this regard, adding that the amendment was likely to be tabled in the upcoming monsoon session of parliament. Some of the amendments proposed also pertain to inexpensive redressal of grievances, enabling e-filing of cases, not requiring personal appearance till admission stage, and time-bound admission of cases. Provisions will also be made for product liability to enable consumers to sue for damages caused by defective products or deficient services.Paswan said that a mediator for mediating between the opposing parties was also being planned.To strengthen the quality assurance regime, amendments to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act, 1986, have also been finalised. Moreover, the market surveillance for standards and testing of products will be made more effective. Describing the controversy over the NDA’s land acquisition ordinance as a manufactured one, Paswan said land was necessary to boost the manufacturing sector.Pointing out that states developed when they had infrastructure and a strong manufacturing sector, Paswan stressed that development was impossible without job creation. “In the country, farmers have not taken to the streets (protesting the bill), but so-called leaders have,” said Paswan.

Fall in India’s inflation rate

India’s rate of inflation fell to a three-month low in March, figures show, helped by more stable food prices.

Is loss due to tsunami insurable?

The case being examined by the SC pertains to loss due to the devastating 2004 disaster

Representation Pic

Is “tsunami” an insurable risk or not under the terms of the government’s Marine Hull Insurance policy covering all risks pertaining to perils at sea? The Supreme Court has decided to examine this issue pertaining to a case, in a first of its kind, arising out of damage caused to assets of the Krishnapatnam Port Trust (KPT) by the great tsunami of 2004. KPT, a privately built port is located in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. It has challenged the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s January 30 verdict that says, “Tsunami is an excluded risk” as the loss to KPT occurred on account of an earthquake, which was excluded in the policy, and the insurance company is not liable to reimburse the loss caused to the company.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur admitted the plea filed by KPT against United India Insurance Company Ltd, a public sector general insurance company under the ministry of finance. The petition, filed by KPT through its counsel Vipin Nair, said in May 2004 that the insurance company had issued a policy with insured value of Rs 1.5 crore covering all risks under the MarineHull insurance policy for KPT’s properties including a dredger. The petitioner said the total sum insured was Rs 7.57 crore and a sum of Rs 4,02,872 lac was paid as the insurance premium to the company. It also cited the breakup of the insurance cover for Marine Hull risks Rs 1.5 crore, dismantling risks (Rs 1.5 crore), burglary risks (Rs 1.5 crore), transportation risks (Rs 1.5 crore), personal accident cover for the crew (Rs 7 lakh), third party liability (Rs1.5 cr). The dredger, which is an ocean vessel used for removal of material like silt, rocks, debris etc in any excavation, cleaning or deepening of any port or harbour in any river or sea. Due to the devastating tsunami in December 2004 the insured dradger was submerged in the sea at Krishnapatanam Village in Andhra Pradesh. A surveyor of the insurance company in July 2005 had given the assessment saying it was a “constructive total loss” and assessed the value of loss about Rs 1.1 crore. The petitioner’s counsel argued that the ITC Port Risks Clause 4 covers damage or loss to the insured caused by “perils of the seas, rivers, lakes or other navigable waters”. Clause 5, however, provides for an exception and states that “Earthquake and Volcanic Eruption” shall not be covered under the policy. It is significant to note that “Tsunami” has not been excluded under this clause and therefore would be an insurable risk. The National Consumer Commission had rejected the argument and said “Tsunami” also stands excluded as a risk under the policy in view of the fact that it was an ‘Earthquake’ which was the proximate cause for Tsunami.

Govt order forcing cosmetic firms to declare ‘non-veg products’ under HC scanner

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the Centre’s response on pharma major Reckitt Benckiser’s plea challenging a government notification mandating that every pack of cosmetics should indicate whether it has any ingredient of animal origin.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw issued notice to the government and sought its response by 18 May on Reckitt Benckiser’s plea that the 16 June, 2014 notification of Department of Consumer Affairs is contrary to provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The department has issued the notification under the Legal Metrology Act, while the company has claimed that the issue falls under the scope of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

The notification mandates that packages of cosmetics and toiletries like shampoos, toothpastes and soaps should bear a red/brown dot for non-vegetarian origin and green dot for vegetarian.

The company contended that Supreme Court in 2013 had held that without a “fruitful consideration” with Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) no amendment can be made or suggested to change label of drugs.

It also contended that DTAB had not been agreeable to indicating, on labels of cosmetics, whether source of the product was vegetarian or non-vegetarian, “possibly because unlike food, cosmetics and toiletries are not for oral consumption and are manufactured from hundreds of ingredients whose source would not possible to ascertain”.

The company, in its plea, has sought quashing of the notification saying it is “arbitrary, irrational and discriminatory”.

It has also said that the Bombay High Court in a similar plea by an association of manufacturers of cosmetics and toiletries had directed the government not to take “coercive steps” against the petitioner firms for not declaring whether their products contained any ingredient of animal origin.

PTI

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