Social Sanchar with Shri. Amitabh Gupta on 11th October’17
Apollo Bunder, Gateway of India
Mumbai – 400001
Knowing that Consumers interest are most often short-changed and been subject to overcharging over the “MRP”, V Citizens Action Network (VCAN) held a very crucial Social Sanchar on 11th October, 2017, with Mr. Amitabh Gupta IPS, Addl. Dir-Gen Police & Controller Legal Metrology Organisation (LMO), Maharashtra, at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Colaba.
Mrs. Indrani Malkani, Managing Trustee, V Citizens Action Network started the programme by welcoming both the in-house and online audiences. She specified that the session’s main focus was on understanding the power of the Legal Metrology Organization, the workings of the Department, its structure, and the provisions of the Act and Rules.
She added that whilst the Consumer Protection Act, guides us to our Rights and the way to legal recourse, it is the Legal Metrology Organization (LMO), headed by the “Controller of Legal Metrology” that can take action against the wrongdoers.
Mrs. Malkani then introduced V Citizens Actions Network, and explained how the Social Sanchar was to be conducted, before thanking the various partners and supporters of the Trust, especially Founding Partner Eureka Forbes, the venue partner Royal Bombay Yacht Club, other Networking Partners and Jai Hind College whose students actively participates and volunteers in VCAN’s initiatives.
She then requested her fellow Trustee Mr. V. Ranganathan to introduce the Guest Speaker Mr. Amitabh Gupta and convey his opening remarks.
Mr. Ranganathan after warmly introducing Mr. Gupta, explained that Legal Metrology is the organization of the government of Maharashtra that deals with measurements in our day to day activities, like paying for gas, or electricity, buying vegetables, etc. He elaborated that the LMO makes sure that a customer gets the exact quantity that he pays for.
Mr. Amitabh Gupta began his address by stating that most people did not know about the Legal Metrology Organisation, hence the LMO is not talked about very often. He explained, Metrology is all kinds of measurement, but Legal Metrology is measurement of all that has been legalized and he clarified that Legal Metrology has three parts: Weights, Measurement and MRP.
He then explained various aspects of the workings and the power of the LMO through his presentation (please scroll down to see his full presentation file).
Mr. Gupta detailed the hierarchy and structure of the department. LMO is headed by the Controller who sits in Mumbai, and every region has a Deputy Controller, and every district has an Assistant Controller, whereas every taluka has an Inspector. He emphasized that these Inspectors are the main working unit, and to help them, there are field assistants and peons.
He shared there is a helpline and dedicated email address for Consumer Grievance Redressal. These are: 022 22622022 / firstname.lastname@example.org
He informed the audience that the computerization of the LMO was underway for all activities like issuing licenses to weight manufacturers, dealers, etc. This computerization, which includes a new portal, had started 4 weeks back should be completed by January 2018. The new online portal will be user friendly and people would not need to visit LMO offices but can get all work done online including grievance redressal. Till then, Consumers can avail the consumer helpline number and email address.
Mr. Gupta conveyed that there are statutory declarations for all pre-packed commodities and all packaged commodities should, mandatorily include the name and address of the manufacturer, common name of the commodity, net quantity, month and year of manufacture, MRP, and consumer complaint details.
On questions raised on the issue of MRP particularly on dual prices in Airport, Malls and restaurants, Mr. Gupta mentioned that often there are commodities e.g. mineral water which has two types MRPs, one price at a small shop and a higher price at a restaurant. However, this duality of prices will no longer be an issue from 1st January 2018 onwards, when there will be only 1 MRP as per the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, Amendment 2017, which will come into effect.
Talking about peg measures, he said all peg measures are supposed to be stamped, and it has certain specifications etc. and all of this is covered by Legal Metrology.
The LMO has raided institutions and got their peg measures changed.
In the case of sweet shops, most of them indulge in including the weight of the box with the sweets, which is not allowed.
Mrs. Indrani Malkani then pointed out, with the upcoming Diwali festive season, it is every consumer’s right to have information about these measurements so if anyone is being wronged, they can lodge a complaint.
She also drew attention to the fact that people often get confused between the Consumer Protection Act and the Legal Metrology Act. To this, Mr. Gupta added that Legal Metrology’s scope is limited with specific enforcements, so Consumers who are dissatisfied with the services and there are issues of compensations, Consumer Courts should be approached.
During the Q & A, Mr. Gupta’s attention was drawn to the issue of service charges, and that all the restaurants are charging 10-12% service charge besides the already existing GST on food items, VAT on alcohol. According to Mr. Gupta, service charge cannot be charged but has to be left to the customer’s discretion to pay. So if some restaurant asks you for a compulsory service charge, you can lodge a complaint as per the Consumer Protection Act.
On the question about the sanctity of MRP, Mr. Amitabh said that the manufacturer has the right to fix his MRP in a free market, but he has to pay the customs and excise duties as applicable. He added that the shopkeeper can charge less amount but not more than the mentioned MRP.
To a question regarding GST charges on the purchase of items from a kirana store and a departmental store, Mr. Gupta was quite frank to say that he would not like to take up questions on GST as there was a separate department handling these issues.
To a question regarding the counter commodities in mini-super markets which are stapled, whether they are considered packed or no, Mr. Gupta said that he will make sure the Inspectors visits such shops and take appropriate actions that maybe required and also check out problems if any.
To another question regarding taxi fares from airport being unreasonably high, Mr. Gupta said that the meters were stamped for 2 years and the cost was calibrated according to kilometers, but now control has shifted to the RTO.
Questions on stationary and school text books were also raised.
Mr. Ranganathan queried Mr. Gupta whether the Rights to Services Act applies to the Legal Metrology department, and if so, what are the Notified Services. Mr. Gupta said that the LMO does comply with the Right to Services Act and has notified such services like licenses, nomination, registration, and all other things that the LMO is mandated to do, and all such services have been notified, the procedures have been laid, and some of them have also been uploaded on their new website.
Mrs. Indrani informed the audience that the interaction which has begun today will now continue online on Facebook group launched “TogetherVCAN Facebook group Legal Metrology”. She urged people to join this group where Mr. Amitabh Gupta will directly interact with people and answer question. This Facebook Group will remain active till the 31st of December 2017.
She then concluded the session by assuring Mr. Gupta that VCAN will assist the Legal Metrology department in whatever way needed. She pressed citizens to gain knowledge about their “Rights” so that they cannot be taken for a ride by anyone.
Thereafter Mrs. Malkani requested Mr. Ranganathan to present a memento on behalf of VCAN to Mr. Amitabh Gupta.
All were then invited to join for tea and refreshments.
To view the photos of the event click here.
To view the video of the event click here.
To view the PPT of Shri Amitabh Gupta click here.
To view and download the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 click here.
To view and download the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 click here.
To view and download the Maharashtra Legal Metrology (Enforcement) Rules, 2011 click here.
To view and download the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, Amendment 2017 (will come into effect on 1st January 2018) click here.
Please be advised, the information in the slideshow was prepared by Shri. Amitabh Gupta IPS, Addl. Dir-Gen Police & Controller Legal Metrology Organisation (LMO), Maharashtra, and was presented at the TogetherVCAN’s Social Sanchar held on 11th October 2017.
All Rights are reserved with the Author and due acknowledgement is to be given to the Author should this presentation in part or in full be used by anyone anywhere. The contents of the slideshow presentation are by the Author and not by VCAN.