CGSI was the first consumer organisation to demand special Consumer Court for redressal of consumers’ complaints. In 1975, CGSI led a delegation of five consumer organisations from different parts of India to the then Minister for food and Civil Supplies, Mr.T.A. Pai, to press for a comprehensive Consumer Protection Act, Special Consumer Court and a Directorate for implementation of the Act. The first two have now become a reality.
CGSI handles consumer complaints and offers legal guidance to those wishing to file suits in the Consumer Court. In case where there are a number of complaint against a particular party, both sides are brought together to resolve the issue. The CGSI’S Complaints Committee meets twice a week. Many thousands of grievances have been handled over the years, with 70% success in favour of the complaints cover medical/surgical malpractice and negligence; insurance non-payment; sub-standard drugs and medicines; home remedies; defective household appliances; poor quality foods and drinks; misleading advertising claims; and grievances concerning investments, real estate, insurance, telephones, electricity supply, etc.
As early as 1977, CGSI established the facility of product testing. It first assessed the safety and perforamance of domestic pressure stoves and found that two-third of the samples tested failed in safety Parameters. CGSI sent the results to the government and Indian Standards Institution (ISI) with a demand for mandatory certification. In 1986, the Pressure Stoves Quality Control Order was passed. later,ISI Certification for pressure stoves became mandatory. Subsequently tests were carried out on electrical appliances and fittings – irons, immersion heaters, This culminated in the enactment of the Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Order. A food adulteration testing kit has been developed for use by the lay consumer. Many other products were tested and reports published in the Society’s monthly Journal, “Keemat”: edible oils, powdered spices, ‘surma’, geysers, clinical thermometers, plastic water bottles, rubber teats, milk, mineral water, bread, soft drinks, bath soaps and toothpaste.
CONSUMER EDUCATION FOR SCHOOLS/COLLEGES
CGSI’s Education Committee members had been working with other likeminded educationists to formally introduce Consumer Education in the school curriculum. After nearly two years of meetings and discussions, our efforts were fruitful. In 1994, the Maharashtra Education Board introduced Consumer Education at the 9th Standard Level, progressively covering students from the 4th Standard upwards. The subject taught are the Consumer Moment, Rights & Responsibilities of Consumers, the Consumer in the Market Place, Food Adulteration, Weights and Measures, the Environment, etc. This topics included under existing subjects like Civics, Economics and Home science, are project-based and more practical in nature then theoretical or examination-oriented.
CONSUMER EDUCATION FOR RURAL CONSUMERS
CGSI started a rural project in the villeges of Thane and Raigad districts (Maharashtra) in 1997, with a staff of six and funding from Actionaid. Consumer training was given to people in 112 villages by 1999. Over 32,300 people have received Consumer Education through 750 talks and demostrations in the 2 years of the project, 107 training programmes were organised and 5,767 potential activists have been given special training in Consumer Activision. Three local Consumer groups have been setup in different areas by the Consumers themselves, and these are now actively organising exhibitions, holding talks and redressing complaints. more are expected to come up soon.
“Keemat” is now in its 32th year of publications, the first Consumer magazine in India to be published regularly every month. CGSI has also produced Consumer Guides on subject like Electrical Appliances, Edible Oils, Pesticides, Food, Adulteration, Safety At Home, Safe Blood, etc.
In 1991, CGSI received the National Award for Consumer Protection in its 25th year for service to Consumers. CGSI hopes to reach out to more and more consumers in the new millenium and to developed newer and more effective methods of serving consumers interest.
The Founder members of CGSI were:
Mrs. Seeta Gupta
Mrs. Indira Mazumdar
Mrs. Seeta Nadkarni
Dr. Leela Thorat
Mrs. Leela Jog
Mrs. Kamala Mankekar
Dr. Shanta S. Rao
Mrs. Nalini Tulpule
Mrs. Shakuntala Kadam
: Social Worker
: Social Worker
: Social Worker
: Social Worker
: Social Worker
Their cause has been joined down the years by several public minded citizens. Many illustrious names figure in the list of CGSI Presidents.
To secure basic rights of pedestrians to walk in safety, constituting as they do the single largest segment of the traffic stream in our country, CGSI launched The Pedestrian Wing on 3rd June 1999 at a public meeting held at the Society’s premises. The decision came as a logical follow-up of the Hon’ble Mumbai High Court order delivered in 1998 on CGSI’s writ petition filed earlier. To the best of our knowledge, CGSI is the first NGO in this country to start a Forum for the pedestrians.
The objectives of Pedestrian Wing are as follows:
1. To create public awareness about the rights and responsibilities of Pedestrians and fight for their due rights.
2. To spread awareness about the importance of walking as a mode of transport and facilitate its use for short distance transportation.
3. To facilitate and promote availability of user-friendly Public Transport and encourage it’s use by the public.
4. To do all that is necessary to secure the availability of use at least 90% of the time proper smooth, level and properly constructed pavements, free of encroachments, wherever needed.
5.To propagate and secure road infrastructure related to pavements such as i) hand railings along the pavements, ii) properly marked and painted pedestrian crossings fitted with electronic signals, iii) traffic islands, iv) road dividers and v) proper parking spaces.
6. To fight for proper, orderly and safe Traffic Management and conduct/handling of all related matters conducive to minimum vehicular pollution.
7. To network and co-operate with all Government, Municipal and like minded NGOs, Citizen groups working or engaged in transportation fields towards achieving the above objectives.
The Pedestrian Wing seeks to promote walking as an ideal mode of short distance transportation considering it’s many beneficial effects. As a corollary to this, Pedestrian Wing actively encourages and supports citizens in their bid to secure for themselves all the facilities necessary for their safety to enjoy this fundamental right. Pedestrian Wing has already many active members spread out all over Mumbai including suburbs.
Pedestrian Wing activities include regular and continuous interaction with MCGM, Traffic Police, Transport Commissioner and RTOs at all levels i.e. from HQ to Ward level for redressal of grievances of pedestrians and improvement in facilities. CGSI – Pedestrian Wing is a special invitee to MCGM Inter-Utility Apex Committee meeting/ Zonal level meetings, Traffic Advisory Committee of Traffic Police of Mumbai and co-ordination committee of RTA. Pedestrian Wing also works closely with like-minded NGOs in the field such as WORSPA, AGNI, Citispace, NeTrA, WIAA, PATRA, LPA etc. besides keeping in close touch with the Pedestrian Association of U.K.
Pedestrian Wing holds a ‘ Open House ‘ on 1st Friday of every month at 5 PM at CGSI office when anyone, whether member or not, desirous of seeking redressal of his pedestrian/ traffic grievance or making a suggestion for improvement in pedestrian facilities is welcome to attend.