Mrs.S.Hemalatha, Assistant Professor

Department of Corporate Secretaryship

Share with us about the consumer club of the college and its activities?
I am very glad to share my experience about Consumer Club activities. The Citizen Consumer Club is affiliated to civil supplies and consumer protection department of Government of Tamil Nadu. It was started on 1 March 2014 in the college. Through the club activities like seminars, exhibition, food adulteration demonstration, street play, competitions etc., we are able to create an awareness on consumer rights and protection among the students.

How did you get interested in taking this position?
I got involved and participated in many exhibitions, seminars conducted by the college where I worked last. Naturally, this paved way to get interested in initiating the club in the college. With the motivation given by Dr. S.Venkatraman, Vice President, Education and Training, ICL, I could get involved in the club from the day of inception till today.

Have you held any responsible position like this in your previous work places?
Yes, I was Head of the Department in the previous college. The experience helped me to organise activities and contribute to the club.

Do you think consumer awareness must be introduced at school level as part of curriculum? Give your thoughts on this?
Already, many schools have started Citizen Consumer Club and are creating awareness among the students. At school level, students from Commerce stream study about consumer rights and protection, CAVEAT EMPTOR (let the buyer beaware) under their curriculum. And this knowledge among students is not adequate as many students at college level do not know the expansion and meaning of MRP. Itís my personal opinion to conduct more activities and competitions at school level itself.

Tell us why there is very poor understanding about consumer rights in our society?
We, the consumers should have alertness in exploitation by retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer. Even the educated hesitates to question the retailer or manufacturer about poor quality, less quantity, false ingredients, more than MRP, misleading and false advertisement and so on. I think consumers lack adequate awareness about consumer protection and rights, consumer court, forum and law.

How can we create awareness among public regarding consumer rights?
Awareness through Social Media by the Government can educate the public and with illiterate people, through Drama, Street play in regional languages is beneficial.

Tell us how government is taking initiatives to ensure quality in the consumer goods?
The Government established organisation like Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) to certify the quality of consumer goods. Both central and state governments take initiatives to create various awareness campaign through advertisement in media to know about the standards fixed for consumer goods.

What are the government sponsored programmes conducted in the college and how you got aware of such programme?
The programmes sponsored by Departments and Agencies like Bureau of Indian Standard, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department, Consumer Association of India (CONCERT) in the college to educate the students. From Internet sources, I got aware of such programmes.

Tell us how the students have got benefited by the programmes conducted by the Consumer Club?
Students are benefited by involving themselves in exhibition, dramas, competition, street play on consumer rights and protection. The interested club members bring information on the topic by surfing. And they are more benefitted by attending the seminars, presentations and demonstration by the Government.

Share your experience with UCL?
The Citizen Consumer Club of the college did a programme sponsored by University College London on 1 April 2014. I have got an opportunity to work with Dr. R.Gayathri, our present Principal who scripted the street play. The street play created on awareness on pros and cons of social media. We had a very good experience in giving practice to the students. Besides, other activities like product packaging competition and exhibition conducted in collaboration with other committee staff members. In this regard, I thank Dr. S. Venkatraman, Vice president, Education and Training, ICL and Mr. Sriram, Research Scholar, Universtiy College London, for providing us with an opportunity to do. I also thank the Principal for making the programme a great success.