Dept plans consumer education in schools

KATHMANDU: Department of Commerce (DoC) is going to start ‘consumer awareness campaign’ in high schools to develop competitive free market. The campaign will starts from mid-March.

“The campaign is planned realising that consumer awareness is the backbone of free market economy,” said Anil Kumar Thakur, director general at the department. According to the plan, DoC and its district offices will organise one-hour orientation to students in 400 high schools — 150 high schools in Kathmandu and 250 outside.

“Fifty high schools in cities will be selected in each development region for orientation,” said Kamal Bahadur Thapa, inspection officer (IO) at the department. The orientation will continue till the end of current fiscal year that ends on July 16, 2010. “We have time constraints in this year so villages and remote areas will be added next year,” he added.

The Department-prepared handbook has included contents like meaning of consumer, provisions of law related to consumer, consumer rights and consumer case filing procedure. The department has planned to mobilise IOs. “IOs will get Rs 500 allowance for every orientation class,” he said.

It has designed the campaign after it failed to regularise price-list — wholesale and retail — in shops despite yearlong monitoring campaign. Black Marketing and Certain Other Social Offences Act 1978 has made mandatory to shopkeepers to display price-list of 29 essentials goods including rice, wheat, maize, sugar, oil, milk, vegetables, medicine and petroleum products at the publicly visible place in front of the shops. But very few shopkeepers follow the rule.