In its bid to empower consumers to make informed decisions before buying any packaged item, the government will implement new packaging norms from next April. The manufacturers will have to make additional declarations to MRP by mentioning the price of the commodity per unit — per kg or litre for items weighing more than a kg or litre; and per gram or millilitre (ml) for items of less than one kg or a litre.
There will be similar norms for items that can be measured in metres and centimetres.
The amended Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules also removes the “specified quantities” norms for packaging for 19 types of items including milk, tea, biscuits, edible oil, atta, soft drink and drinking water, baby food, pulses and cereals, cement bag, bread and detergents. So, there will be no such government mandated specifications on quantities and with this the manufacturers will have full freedom to decide the quantities of all packaged items they sell in the market.
Another major change is mandatory declaration of “month and year of manufacture” on imported packaged items instead of the current regime where the importer or seller has the option of mentioning either month and date of import or pre-packing. “The quality of any product is linked to the manufacturing date,” said a consumer affairs ministry official.
The consumer affairs ministry has notified the changes in the rules.
On the first of the two major amendments with regard to quantity and unit price, the official said changes have been made simultaneously to provide more options to consumers and also for ease of business for the manufacturers of such items as well.
“Once packaged items are made available in all quantities, consumers can choose what meets their requirements and they won’t be compelled to buy bigger quantities. Similarly, manufacturers can also bring more options. But to ensure consumers rights are protected, the provision has been made to declare prices in units such as kg, gram, litre, millilitre, metre and centimetre. That brings parity while doing any comparison,” the official added.
Once the prices are displayed in uniform units, it will be much easier for consumers to compare, different options or brands of the same product.
Source : The Times of India Nov 6 2021