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NEW DELHI: Sharing any detail of consumers for commercial purpose by companies will be treated as unfair trade practice, which will attract punishment under the consumer protection law. The government has proposed this in the
Consumer Protection Bill+
amid increasing reports that e-commerce companies might be selling this data for commercial gain.
The need to protect private data of consumers was flagged by the secretary general of UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi on Thursday at an event chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources in the consumer affairs ministry said adequate provisions will be made to address this concern while framing rules after the bill is passed in Parliament. People will have the right to take such unfair trade practice to consumer courts and even the proposed Central Consumer Protection Authority will be empowered to take action.
“Every country from the South East Asia region shared the best practices and the growing areas of concern to protect consumers. We are hopeful of the bill getting passed in the winter session. What we have learnt from other countries will get reflected in our policies,” consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan told TOI.
Earlier consumer rights activists and even members of country’s apex consumer dispute redressal commission (NCDRC) had raised the issue of protecting consumers privacy. “With more and more people sharing their personal details while doing transaction through e-commerce platforms, the concern is set to grow. In developed countries like United States and nations under European Union, stricter penalties are being imposed on companies violating the norms. India cannot lag behind considering the manner in which e-commerce is growing,” said a government official, who did not wish to be named.
Quoting a recent global report Kituyi had said between 2012 and 2015 more people in India went online for the first time than anywhere else in the world. He said since data has overtaken oil as the world’s most traded commodity, it shows why the digital economy is such a game changer. “This poses a phenomenal challenge. This creates new responsibilities that we must deal with collectively,” the chief of the UN body said.