Since Independence, India has been striving to develop and strengthen its industrial base. In this pursuit of “self-sufficiency”, however, the consumer has been made to endure sub-standard products and services: adulterated foods, short weights and measure, spurious and hazardous drugs, exorbitant prices, endemic shortages leading to black marketing and profiteering, unfulfilled manufacture guarantees,and a host of other ills. In one infamous case, forty persons were struck with dropsy and glaucoma after consuming groundnut oil adulterated with toxic Argemone oil. The culprits were never brought to justice. This outrage energized nine ladies to organize a movement to fight for consumer rights. They formed the Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) to resist consumer exploitation of all forms.
Following are some some of the landmarks achieved by CGSI :
1. CGSI is the earliest consumer organisation in India, founded in 1966.
2. CGSI was the first to demand a Consumer Protection Act with Consumer Courts to implement it. This become a reality in 1986.
3. To date, 70% of the thousands of complaints referred to CGSI have been redressed.
4. CGSI established formal Product Testing in India.
5. CGSI was the first to publish a monthly magazine “Keemat” carrying information of importance to consumer.
6. CGSI promotes consumer education; initiates training projects in rural areas; Promotes publicity drives; represents consumer interests with Government and other bodies.
7. CGSI received the National Award for consumer Protection in 1991.
8. CGSI is the only Indian consumer organisation to be a council member of Consumer International for 25 years.
9. CGSI is a member of the Maharashtra State Consumer Protection Council.
10. CGSI participates in a large number of technical committees and government decision-making bodies.