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Face penal action if country of origin isn’t displayed on e-commerce sites: Ram Vilas Paswan

Consumer affairs ministry to set up a team to monitor any such violation, which could invite a maximum jail term of three years or a fine of Rs 2,000 or both.

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New Delhi: Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Thursday said that manufacturers/sellers of various products on e-commerce platforms will have to provide the details of the origin of the product, in compliance with Packaged Commodities Rules, 2011, failing which they will face penal action.

The violations, punishable under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, invites a maximum jail term of three years or a fine of Rs 2,000 or both.

“The ministry is constituting a team under an assistant secretary-level officer to monitor any such violation,” Paswan told reporters in a virtual press conference.

Paswan further said that the consumer affairs ministry has instructed the manufacturers to declare details such as the country of origin of the product, manufacturing details along with expiry of the products. These details, he said, should be printed on at least 40 per cent of the product.

“If these parties fail to comply with provisions under packaged commodities rules, 2011 despite repeated reiterations from the ministry, then they would be liable for penal provision under Indian Legal Metrology Act, 2009,” Paswan said.

The packaged commodities rules mandate that the country of origin, name and address of manufacturer, importer or packer along with the date of manufacture, expiry, MRP (maximum retail price), weight and consumer helpline number are to be printed across all packaged products.

The legal metrology officials across the country have to ensure that this information is printed on the packets, failing which they can punish the manufacturers.

However, ministry officials concede that the rules are not enforced strictly.

The government stepped up the heat on manufacturers selling products on e-commerce sites to display countries of origin in the aftermath of the violent India-China face-off at the Ladakh border on 15 June.

Also read:Modi govt walks the talk on agriculture reforms. Now, fix the loopholes

Only 4 crore got free foodgrains under Aatma Nirbhar scheme

Talking about the government’s decision to extend distribution of free foodgrains to the poor and migrant workers as part of the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, Paswan said that as on date 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains is lying undistributed with states, which the Centre had dispatched to them.

“States have been given time to complete the distribution by August 31, as so far only 4 crore migrants have received the free foodgrains so far,” Paswan said.

The Union cabinet Wednesday had extended the time for free distribution of free 5 kg foodgrains/person for the 8 crore migrants under the scheme till 31 August.

“While many states like Bihar and Delhi have lifted 100 per cent of the foodgrain allocated to them under the scheme, the distribution is still below double digits. Only states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana have disbursed more than 50 percent of the foodgrain allocated to them,” added Paswan.

As on 1 July, states like Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Telangana had zero per cent distribution and seven states had less than 1 per cent distribution under PM Atmanirbhar Scheme. Telangana lifted its entire allocation of 19,162 metric tonnes of foodgrains under the scheme but it did not distribute it to any beneficiary at all whereas Andhra Pradesh distributed grain to 600 beneficiaries in May and 800 beneficiaries in June respectively.

The PM Atmanirbhar scheme was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in May to provide migrant workers with free food grains across the country. The scheme was meant to provide free foodgrains to migrants and those without ration cards in May and June.

Also read: One nation, many rules — how multiple authorities & chaos they create hurts Indian economy


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