World Consumers Rights Day – 2022 “Fair Digital Finance”

BY ASHIM SANYAL, COO CONSUMER VOICE
World Consumer Rights Day was inspired by US President John F Kennedy, who sent a special message to the US Congress on 15th March 1962, in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights.  The consumer movement globally now marks 15th March as World Consumer Rights Day every year, as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights and needs.

This year, the Members of Consumers International which consists of around 200 consumer groups in over 100 countries have chosen Fair Digital Finance as our global theme looking at the digital transformation of businesses and therefore consumers foray into the digital buying patterns.

Redefining digital payments

Digital technologies are reshaping payments, lending, insurance, and wealth management everywhere becoming a key enabler for consumers of financial services. There is strong evidence to suggest these risks have increased in recent years and crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic have enhanced these risks, where vulnerable consumers are more fragile due to economic hardship. Achieving fair digital finance for all requires a global, collaborative, and coordinated approach. 

Digital Financial Services can empower consumers, everywhere. To achieve this, digital financial services must be inclusive, safe, data protected and private, and sustainable. By 2024, digital banking consumers are expected to exceed 3.6 billion. In the developing world, the proportion of account owners sending and receiving payments digitally has grown from 57% in 2014 to 70% in 2017. Digital finance brings new opportunities – but also new risks that can lead to unfair outcomes for consumers. Digital finance can increase the likelihood that the most vulnerable are left behind.

2022 will be a crucial moment for change with upcoming international policy moments such as the G20 and OECD review of High-level Principles on Financial Consumer Protection. Consumers International will be hosting a week-long event starting on 14 March 2022, the Fair Digital Finance Summit. The Summit will spark the first-ever global conversation around consumer-centred solutions in digital financial services by bringing together diverse voices of consumer advocates and key marketplace actors in digital financial services to accelerate change.  This global summit will showcase the work, perspectives, and ideas from consumer advocates around the world.

Eight Major Consumer Rights in India

So we are basically talking about the 8 major Consumer Rights in India and around the globe.

(1) Right to Safety

(2) Right to be Informed/Right to Representation:

(3) Right to Choose

(4) Right to be Heard

(5) Right to Seek Redressal

(6) Right to Consumer Education:

(7) Right to Basic Needs:

(8) Right to Healthy Environment

India has already amended the Consumer Protection Act 2019 incorporating changes in the marketplace so as to safeguard the consumer’s interests. On this World Consumer Rights Day, Department of Consumer Affairs is organizing a multi stakeholder dialogue and discussion in New Delhi as the way forward for consumer protection, awareness and empowerment. We wish all consumers, a Happy Consumers Rights Day 2022.

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