Tag Archive | Vendors

Consumer Activists For Fight Against Female Foeticide – By Mukesh Jhangiani

                                                                                                                                         April 22, 2002

Consumer Activists For Fight Against Female Foeticide

By Mukesh Jhangiani
United News of India

New Delhi (UNI) – Consumer experts have condemned female foeticide as a ‘social evil’ and misuse of technology and sought to involve women against doctors and others who engage in anti-consumer conduct.

India’s endangered gender ?  (Photo: Link)   

Participants at a three-day workshop that ended in New Delhi last evening also recommended women taking leadership in fighting against consumer interest violations by banks, airlines, communications, food and other industries and vendors.

They also came down heavily on an increasing tendency among doctors to resort to too many referrals which end up costing– and sometimes confusing– the patient, organisers said.

On foeticide, the participants strongly condemned such ”unprecedented” practice of sex-determination tests ”taking place… in some parts of the country,” a spokesman for Civic Rights Society, a lawyers group which organised the event, said.

Experts reported that the use of ”mobile machines” in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh despite an eight-year-old law against using diagnostic methods to determine the sex of the foetus– the Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994– was promoting a new social evil, spokesman S Kumar said.

They said that to know the sex of an unborn child with a view to destroying the female child was a social evil linked to the evil of dowry.

“It was strongly felt that the doctors were also to be blamed in this practice as it is they who were instrumental in misusing the medical technology,” Kumar said.

The workshop inaugurated by British High Commissioner Rob Young was aimed at training women leaders to defend consumer rights. It heard judges, lawyers and medical and other experts’ call for empowering women in the area of consumer rights.

Although India has among the largest numbers of consumers in the world and a law has been enacted and even a Ministry appointed for their protection, speakers bemoaned that exercise of consumer rights in the country is still in infancy.

They said that given the levels of illiteracy, poverty and ignorance, Indian consumers continued to suffer exploitation– women, who do much of the buying of daily household necessities, silently bearing the brunt of it.

Senior Supreme Court Judge G B Pattanaik, noting that women were ”intimately associated” with 90 per cent of products and services and knew their quality and worth, held it was appropriate that women lead the fight for consumer rights.

He said this was especially so given the prevalence in India of such factors as the limited purchasing power, the perennial shortage of goods and an economic planning guided by principle of social justice.

Delhi High Court Chief Justice S B Sinha said women’s special role was recognised even under the Consumer Protection Act which provided ”that one of the Judges in the Consumer Forum should be a woman.”

Justice Sinha said, ”That provision has been made evidently with a view that the lady-judge would understand the day-to-day problems of household purchase whether product or service.”

With medical profession having been brought under the Act, women who– together with children– are a major health care consumer must develop awareness of quality, safety and cost of services they get, he said, adding that women could also help ensure food safety and avoid health hazards.

The participants deprecated doctors’ tendency to take recourse to increasing referral service subjecting patients to heavy costs, some of which could perhaps be avoided if doctors updated their knowledge and skills, the organisers said.

They said one speaker narrated how two different doctors gave two different opinions on the same ailment.

Earlier, in his inaugural address, the British Diplomat noted that women as consumers were the most vulnerable, but hastened to add that opportunities were growing for them to assert themselves.

Consumer movement across the globe has citizens influencing decisions once considered not their concern, such as adding a terminal at London’s Heathrow Airport or dumping an oil platform in the North Sea, he said.

The participants also voiced themselves against frequent strikes afflicting various industry and service sectors and sought steps for protection of consumer interests against these.

UNI MJ MM GR1016

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Crying Foul Over Violations, Secrecy In Games ! – By Mukesh Jhangiani

                                                                                                                 October 01, 2010
Crying Foul Over Violations, Secrecy In Games !

By Mukesh Jhangiani
United News of India

women work2

Women At Work For No Pay ?
(Photo: nocwg2010)

New Delhi (UNI) – Violations of law that hit thousands of workers and drove thousands out of homes as New Delhi readied for Commonwealth games have yet to be remedied, activists say.

”Commonwealth Games hai! hai!”– cries of woe– rent the air as members of an Anti Commonwealth Games Front took to the streets on Friday, barely days before the event.

Such ”gross violations of human rights against Delhi’s poor and marginalised groups” called for a boycott of the 71-nation event on ethical grounds, a meeting at Jantar Mantar was told.

The protest coincided with the arrival of the ‘Queen’s Baton’ they dubbed ”a historical symbol of oppression and colonisation.”

They spoke of 200,000 now homeless and 300,000 without livelihood, not to mention labour law violations at CWG sites, beggars shipped out or young women trafficked in from States for sex work.

”In the run-up to the Commonwealth Games,” the Front, a coalition of 25 groups, said, ”the city has seen the most blatant violation of human rights of the urban poor.”

Many vendors, cart-pullers, waste-pickers, head-loaders, balloon sellers, cobblers, food stalls and eateries have simply been put out of work, it said in a statement.

The groups included Peoples’ Union for Democratic Rights, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Housing and Land Rights Network, Indo German Social Service Society, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and Beghar Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti.

”The government has completely lost its sense of priorities,” it said, citing Rs 70,000-100,000 crore– US$ 15-21 billion– spent on hosting the 12-day extravaganza.

They compared it, for instance, to Rs 11,270 crore allocated for housing projects for economically weaker citizens under Indira Awas Yojna 2010-11 and Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojana 2010-2011.

They said CWG decisions– from bidding for the event to reserving lanes for participants or a somersault on turning the village into a student hostel– were ”taken in secrecy,” against democratic norms.

English: CWG Opening Ceremony 2010

CWG 2010 Opening Ceremony (Photo: Wikipedia)

While CWG construction workers ought to have been paid wages in keeping with the international stature of the event, a spokesman for a signatory group said most were deprived of minimum wages even by Indian standards.

Workers at CWG construction sites have experienced some of the most widespread violation of human rights, spokesman Subhash Bhatnagar for Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam said.

Unskilled workers in Delhi are entitled to a minimum daily wage of Rs 203 but got only Rs 110-130, volunteers said.

Experts say laws provide for paltry fines at the end of litigation– itself slow– not jail terms which can deter violations.

According to PUDR, the State agencies flouting labour laws as principal employers in CWG-related construction range from Delhi Development Authority to Delhi University.

Calling CWG one of India’s biggest corruption scandals, the groups said instead of accounting for the financial irregularities, the government ”is focusing” on ”success of the Games under the garb of ‘national pride’.”

It questioned the idea of supporting ”a sporting event that is making a selected few richer.”

The protesters dismissed suggestions that hosting the CWG will improve India’s performance in sports as ”completely false.”

They said for many schools across India a playground was a distant dream for children and the plight of most athletes ”is dismal if not pathetic.”

A placard they held demanded ”schools, not stadiums.”

English: CWG Delhi 2010 OC Building

2010 CWG Organising Committee’s home (Photo: Wikipedia)

Noting that India has spent at least Rs 4,500 crore on renovating stadiums for the Games, it said ”this money could have been more wisely spent to improve facilities for sportspersons across the country.”

It said Delhi residents have been put through ”a lot of inconveniences” to host an event they were neither consulted about nor asked for– but ”will eventually pay for.”

Alluding to remarks made by Delhi Finance Minister A K Walia in March 2010, the groups said the Delhi Government has gone bankrupt because of ”wanton spending” in the name of the Games. ”The city has become much more expensive and taxes have increased.”

It demanded ”full accountability from all agencies and departments involved in the CWG, full public disclosure of funds, transparency of transactions, protection of human rights of Delhi’s citizens.”

It also demanded ”compensation for livelihoods lost, adequate rehabilitation of the displaced close to their places of work, a post-Games legacy plan and cost recovery plan, and prosecution of officials responsible for embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.”

UNI MJ NK 1950