Consumer Welfare Fund
The Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944 (1 of 1944) was amended in 1991 to enable the Central Government to create the Consumer Welfare Fund where the money, which is not refundable to the manufacturers etc., shall be credited. The money credited to the Fund is to be utilized by the Central Government for the welfare of the consumers in accordance with the Rules framed.
Consumer Welfare fund rules were notified on 25th November, 1992 Subsequently on the recommendations of the Central Consumer Protection Council, the Rules were further mended on 27th January, 1994 to make them more broad based. The rules were further amended on 16.06.94, 16.01.95 and 13.6.2002.The fund has been set up by the Department of Revenue. However, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution will operate it.The overall objective of the consumer Welfare Fund is to provide financial assistance to promote and protect the welfare of the consumers and strengthen the voluntary consumer movement in the country particularly in the rural areas.
Schemes and Projects Financed from Consumer Welfare Fund
This scheme was launched in 2002, according to which a consumer club shall be set up in each Middle/High/Higher Secondary school/college affiliated to a government recognized Board/University. This scheme has been decentralised and transferred to the Governments of States/UTs with effect from 1.04.2004. All interested NGO/VCOs shall apply to the Nodal Officer in the Food, PD & Consumer Welfare Department of the respective States/UTs.
This scheme has been launched with a view to sponsor research and evaluation studies in the field of consumer welfare to provide solution to the practical problems being faced by the consumers, to sponsor seminars/workshops/ conferences on the consumer related topics, and to have necessary inputs for the formulation of policy/programme/scheme for the protection and welfare of the consumers.
National Consumer Helpline
A National Consumer Helpline project has been established in collaboration with Delhi University, Department of Commerce. Consumers can call from any where in India to the number 1600-11-4000 from MTNL/BSNL lines free of charge and get advice regarding their problem as a consumer. The Helpline has been formally launched on 15.3.2005 on the World Consumer Rights Day and is functional on all working days from 9.30 A.M to 5.30 P.M.A Facilitation Center of the Help Line is also functioning at the Reception, Gate No: 6 of Krishi Bhawan from 9.30am to 5.30 am.
MOU with the Delhi University
Consumer Online Resources and Empowerment Center for Online Complaint and Assistance
The CORE Center has been conceived to function as the most scientific and effective system of collection, dissemination and redressal of consumer related information and complaints. It was launched on the World Consumer Day i.e. on 15th March, 2005.
The CORE Center consists of the following :
National Resource Center
Network between Consumer Organizations, Consumer information Centers, Government and Non Government Organization
Online Complaint Registration and Mediation Mechanism
Consumers can now register their complaints in the CORE through the website www.core.nic.in. They can also have access to wealth of information regarding Consumer issues through this website.
MOU with Consumer Coordination Council
Project on Comparative Testing of Products
State Consumer Welfare Fund and Model Guidelines
The Department has decided to decentralize and transfer the Consumer Awareness and Consumer Club schemes to the State/UT Governments with effect from 1st April, 2004. Consequently, it has been decided to facilitate the States/UTs to set up their own Consumer Welfare Fund by making a one-time contribution of an amount proportionate to the number of districts, by the Centre (Department of Consumer Affairs) and the State Government in the ratio 50:50 (Centre : State). In case of special category States, like North Eastern States, Sikkim, J&K ,Uttaranchal A&N Islands and Lakshdweep the ratio will be 90:10 (Centre : State).
The State Government would be required to first make their contribution towards the fund in a separate head of account, and then apply to the Department for grant of Central share. The State CWF would be set up in the same pattern as the Central CWF, and will be a non-transferable, non-lapsable and non-plan fund outside the Consolidated Fund, and to be administered by a uniform guidelines drafted/approved by the Department.
Evaluation Report on the Schemes of Consumer Awareness , DCIC and Jagriti Shivir Yojana
The Department has undertaken evaluation of the Consumer Awareness, Jagriti Shivir Yojana and District Consumer Information Center schemes by an independent agency in order to streamline the schemes, study their utility and make modifications. On the basis of the Report it has since been decided to discontinue these Schemes. Hence these schemes are not in operation at present.
The financial assistance will be given mainly for following purposes :
Production and distribution of literature and audio-visual material for spreading consumer literacy and awareness building programmes for consumer education.
Setting up facilities for training and research in consumer education and related matters on national/ regional basis;
Community based rural awareness projects;
Setting up of complaint handling/ counseling/ guidance mechanisms like consumer guidance bureau;
Setting up of Consumer Product Testing Laboratories.
Building up infrastructural facilities for organising consumer education activities on a permanent basis at the district/ taluk levels;
For purposes indicated in Rule 8 of the Consumer Welfare Fund Rules;
The projects not convered by the above, but in the opinion of the Screening Committee, can tackle pressing social problems and maximise consumer welfare.
The following items may qualify for assistance :
Construction of building excluding staff quarters
Purchase of equipment
Purchase of furniture
Charges for delivery of services
Other charges as may be considered necessary by the Screening Committee for the proper running of the programme / project.
Note: Payment of salaries of staff on recurring basis will not be considered as a general rule but appointment of some trained/ professional staff as an integral part of the project may be considered in deserving cases for a limited period. However, such expenditures should not exceed 15% of the total project cost and may be considered depending on the nature of the project.
Terms and Conditions
The Fund should not be used for party or political propaganda
Quarterly progress reports of the progress/ implementation should be submitted to the Ministry regularly with due intimation to the concerned State governments.
The organization shall maintain a record of all assets acquired wholly; or substantially out of financial assistance given from the Consumer Welfare Fund. Such assets shall not be disposed off, encumbered or utilized for purpose other than those for which the grants were given without prior sanction of the Government of India. Should the organization cease to exist at any time. Such assets will revert to the Government of India.
Note : A copy of the Consumer Welfare Fund rules, 1992 as amended from time to time is annexed.