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Should we change the official year? Sweeter prospects for sugar Modi and the lady The Jan Dhan bonanza Noble nonagenarians... A think tank for Chennai S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal IAS invades NDDB... Tatas moving out of urea production... Kudos to NDTV... Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Come elections, come advertisements... Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Kulandai was a giant He continues the focus on social amelioration Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Put expensive assets created to use... Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks The brown list of Venkitaramanan Mu Sigma – is no more TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Wise Presidents Intellectual of rare qualities Building loyalty through the stomach Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... 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R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Things happen by accident and not by design... Silver Years of Madras Musings Fuel for thought Tax agriculture Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Medical costs hit the roof... Five star activism stalls development activity Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Modi storms Silicon Valley Quality education through the PPP mode Waning interest in public discussions… Solar thermal shines… Polls and promises Why land prices zoom in TN? Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Roaring Ro-Ro facility SoA @ 80 Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Music happens Welcome focus on core competence A professional at the helm of IRDA... Permanent secretariat for TN GIM The balancing act Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Kinetic Karnataka All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Small units prefers to remain small... 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This scant respect for Law Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai ONGC at KG Basin Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Strengthen the base... Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Road development slows down Build close rapport with business leaders Auto components surge… A rich pool of talent not utilised…. An enemy’s enemy is a friend CII projects higher growth… GNS - 100: our first subscriber Shipping woes of Chennai companies Cutting the nose to spite the face More tributes to GR L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Making ‘my Amaravati’... A more liberated TN… Another Indian music maestro at the UN Adharma of opposition politics Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Robber barons everywhere Sri Lanka votes for change The nuclear option Engineering seats go abegging Paytm karo... When nations steal growth from one another… Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Editor's Notes Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science When small is no larger beautiful.. Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Solar, solar everywhere … A welcome initiative by the judiciary CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School The star of Spencers is no more Which side are you, Montek? EEC at the National Media Centre Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Delhi is distant… to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Return to king coal for urea... CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... London, London Narayan He saved millions from starvation... TGS- The king storyteller S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Secularism and anti-Hinduism Tatas moving out of urea production... Sweet news for TN sugar mills Welcome GST Computation of GDP – conundrums continue Moily’s bold thrust Align crops to agro climate endowments… West Bengal: mindless malignancy Poor quality of university VCs TIAM turns a full cycle When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Boy, can you beat these? Pharma – overdose of copying Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet When Ratan Tata visited SRM Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... Vibrant Gujarat CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Convulsions in The Hindu Demise of a media baron... Mersal magnified IPL type auction for VCs? Delhi Chalo... Streamlining mandatory third party cover Fortune 500 review An inexplicable neglect The Gulf aviation boom Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Editor's Says Where is Rajaji? Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Haul over the coal Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Why this malaise in medical education? Fortune for Indian Airlines More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Shale gas and its shallow future Gay abandon in pricing Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel TELANGANA at last…BUT …and of a popular trade leader Quality silica from Neyveli PC’s preference for professionals More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Revving up the manufacturing sector Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! The power-full Hindujas Readers' Mail IPL - no surprise this scam When online building permits work…. Tribute – M V Murugappan Gas is the way forward Delhi is distant Towards speedy justice Telangana in top gear… Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Where a state respects its litterateurs… Banning booze... Airlines in India: cost and space Valli, they are more marginalised A glass full of corruption B H Kothari - a tribute The rise and rise of KCP How Air-India loses customs... Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra No Maha Koottani in TN... An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking...
 
Make standards certification mandatory...

CONCERT, part of the Consumer Association of India, in association with the American Consulate, organised a two-day national seminar on Consumer Product Safety. CAI’s R Desikan and his team presented a number of specialists from the government and industry, as also experts from the US and UK on the subject that has not received the attention it deserved.

Even in the country where today the consumer is truly the king, the United States, the movement attracted attention only post 1960: US was then enjoying the post war boom. The automobile industry was performing in top gear. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were on the top of global corporates. Ralph Nader was making a critical analysis of road accidents that were taking a heavy toll of human lives. He took the automobile manufactures to court, charging them that their vehicles were unsafe at any speed. And he succeeded! That was the birth of the organised consumer movement.

In India, with scarcity of goods and services, for decades it was considered a privilege to be sold a product. Knowledge of engineering and standards were confined to reputed corporates. Thus, the standards were set largely by representatives of the industry. Understandably, these standards were minimal. Cement manufacturers, for instance, set the standard to the minimum. When in the early 1980s the government permitted import of cement, there was a scramble for Korean cement of high quality delivered in tamper-proof paper bags. Very slowly Indian manufac-

turers reconciled to labelling 33, 43 and 53 grade cement and for years there was no adequate information on relating cement strength to the need. The same extended to other commodities like steel, where manufacturers graded these without adequately explaining the rationale for opting higher grades at, of course, higher prices irrespective of the need.

For decades, manufacturers of refrigerators and air-conditioners delayed introduction of CFC-free coolants that were mandatary over four decades ago in Europe, US and other countries. Again, they provided little information on power consumption, safety and other aspects. Even today, standards of electrical goods are kept to the minimum with little guarantee on stipulated performance.

IE had pleaded for mandatory standards for a large number of products, over three decades ago. I am therefore happy that the seminar demanded bringing much larger number of products under mandatory standards.

 

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