As Gujarat and three other states banned the sale of Nestle’s Maggi over mounting food safety concerns, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday said the Centre was planning to amend laws so that there was “no mischief with the health of the people”.
He said the NDA government was also planning to bring legislative amendments with regard to regulating e-commerce, misleading advertisement and unfair trade practices.
Addressing a press conference here, the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said the presence of harmful substances in Maggi beyond permissible limit was a serious issue, as he talked about the “fast food culture” becoming prominent since “both husband and wife chose to work”.
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“In such a situation, people don’t cook at home and chose to eat outside. In developed countries, one does not even think of adulteration (in food). But here, one has to think if what will not be adulterated,” he said. “But, we are committed to the task… to bring an amendment so that there is no mischief with the health of the people.”
Paswan said the government has decided to refer the Maggi issue to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) for further action. “This happened for the first time after independence. And now its a matter of NCDRC’s jurisdiction.”
He said that any action against Nestle and Maggi at the national level could be taken only after receiving tests results from different states.
Paswan also said the NDA government was planning to bring certain legislative amendments, including one for the protection of consumer rights. He added that the Centre was also planning to increase the compensation amount at the district, the state and the central levels for consumer grievances.
The consumer commissions should pronounce their verdict on consumer grievances within 90 days, he said.
Talking about online shopping and e-commerce, the minister said the government was planning to bring an amendment to regulate the sector. He said the Centre was considering a suggestion to increase the fine for misleading advertisements, where even brand ambassadors of the products would be liable for increased penalty.
Restriction for non-Hindus at Somnath temple ‘inappropriate’
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday called the move by Shree Somnath Trust (SST) to restrict the entry for non-Hindus to the famous Shiva temple as “inappropriate”. “Yeh to galat hain (this is inappropritate),” Paswan said as he agrued against such restrictions for public places. Paswan, however, said he did not know whether the Somnath temple was being run by the government or a private trust.
The temple is being run by Shree Somnath Trust which has Prime Minister Narendra Modi as one of its trustees.