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‘Big or Small, Consumer Rights is for All!’
With time immemorial, cross-border trade is something which nations have always relied upon for strengthening economic, political and cultural alliances and for the expansion of their territory in the quest of becoming global power. India was at the receiving end of this ambition of nations, which led to it being ruled by foreign powers who invaded India under the garb of trading with it. Post-independence, has India actually managed to free itself from the clutches of these dominating trans-national business powers, is still a question. When India opened its economy for foreign trade and became a signatory to WTO, it amended many of its restrictive frameworks and converted them into regulatory ones. But what India failed to do was to increase its quality assurance norms as per the western standards. This made it easy for the western countries to dump their products in India, but the same was not reciprocated. This was because the standard of quality of the products (with respect to both perishable and non-perishable goods) demanded by the western countries were much higher than what we accepted here in India. This led us to accept even the sub-standard products from these countries. But when it came to us exporting our products to them, they were extremely vigilant about the quality of the products that they accepted. This led to the imbalance of trade resulting in hardships being caused to Indian economy hereby leading to the weakening of Indian currency. The changes in consumer law were adopted to bring the consumer protection standards at par with the internationally recognized standards. The intention of doing so is to achieve the major goals of universally applicable minimum standard of consumer protection and to abolish the obstacles in cross-border trade, but the imbalance created has ultimately burdened the consumer. This has defeated the very objective of consumer protection laws. The authors in this paper wish to elaborate upon the reasons for the negative balance of payments and wish to suggest the changes in the trade policies which will ultimately prove to be beneficial for the consumers of our country.
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