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World Consumer Rights Day is marked on 15th of March to enlighten consumers the world over, about their rights. Consumer Organizations organize workshops/hold events in an endeavor to raise awareness about consumer rights. Celebrating the day is a chance to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected, and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.

The theme of World Consumer Rights Day 2018 was "Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer"

We, at VOICE, have always been more than enthusiastic about our mission of educating consumers. To celebrate World Consumer Rights Day, this year, VOICE and National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Jointly organized a half day workshop on 17th March 2018, on "Need for Better Quality of Internet Services to make India truly Digital".

The workshop began with the welcoming of the guests and the participants by Prof. Ashok Patil which was followed by the introduction of the participants who also briefly discussed how internet impacts their lives. This was followed by  introduction of the subject by Yukti Arora, Senior Research Fellow, Consumer VOICE who discussed the significance of World Consumer Rights Day. She also discussed the importance of Internet and quality thereof in the lives of people.  She, further, shared an instance clearly showing the wide gap between what ISPs claim and what they give to the customers. Prof. Sri Ram Khanna, Managing Editor and Principal Researcher presented the findings of the study "Assessment of Quality of Internet Services on Internet Users", conducted by VOICE. He also discussed the recommendations made to TRAI based on this study.  Prof. T.V. Subba Roa, Chairperson, NLSIU explained the need for good internet quality and how it is instrumental to the growth and development of a nation. Prof. Ashok Patil gave a presentation on "Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer" wherein he discussed the need for cybersecurity, Unethical and exploitative trade practices used by the sellers online, digital frauds etc. Consumers need to be protected from such malpractices of the sellers online.  Prof Ashok Patil and Dr. Anita Patil briefly introduced about a platform for mediation, created and operated by NLSIU- OCMC and explained its use.

The session ended with Question and Answer round, followed by summing up by Yukti Arora and Vote of Thanks by Mr. Sanjay.
All in all, the workshop was a success as participants were more than enthusiastic about the subject and felt enlightened as they discussed their experience with the guests and amongst themselves. Workshops like this help in educating and empowering consumers which gives a boost to Consumer movement.

Divya Patwal


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