The consumer movement in India arose out of dissatisfaction with the consumers as many unfair practices were being indulged in by the sellers. Let us know more about consumer movements in India.
There was no legal system available to consumers to protect them from exploitation in the marketplace. For a long time, when a consumer was not happy with a particular brand product or shop, he or she generally avoided buying that brand product or would stop purchasing from that shop. It was presumed that it was the responsibility of consumers to be careful while buying a commodity or service.
It took many years for organizations in India, and around the world, to create awareness amongst people. This has also shifted the responsibility of ensuring the quality of goods and services on the sellers. The consumer movement in India originated as a ‘social force’ with the necessity of protecting and promoting the interests of consumers against unethical and unfair trade practices.
Rampant food shortages, hoarding, black marketing, adulteration of food, and edible oil gave birth to the consumer movement in India in an organized form in the 1960s. Till the 1970s, consumer organizations were largely engaged in writing articles and holding exhibitions. They formed consumer groups to look into the malpractices in ration shops and overcrowding in the road passenger transport.
More recently, India witnessed an upsurge in the number of consumer groups. Because of all these efforts, the movement succeeded in bringing pressure on business firms as well as government to correct business conduct which may be unfair and against the interests of consumers at large. A major step taken in 1986 by the Indian government was the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, popularly known as COPRA.