Products sold on e-commerce platforms and medical devices declared as drugs like stents will now have to mandatorily carry retail prices and other essential information from next year as per the government’s new labelling rules.
Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has approved amendments to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, that will come into effect from January 1, 2018.
These rules were framed to regulate the pre-packaged commodities, which have to comply with certain mandatory labelling requirements.
“Products on e-commerce platforms to display declarations required under the amended rules. Medical devices declared as drugs brought under the rules,” an official statement said.
The government said that the rules have been amended to enhance consumer protection, but at the same time balancing with the requirement of ease of doing business.
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The amended rules also prohibit dual MRPs on products, saying that “no person shall declare different MRPs (dual MRP) on an identical pre-packaged commodity unless allowed under any law”.
The government said that this will benefit consumers at large as there are complaints regarding dual MRP for items sold at public places like cinema hall, airport, malls etc.
With growing online trade, the new rules has brought products sold on e-commerce platform under its ambit.
“Goods displayed by the seller on e-commerce platform should contain declarations required under the rules like name & address of the manufacturer, packer and importer, name of the commodity, net content, retail sale price, consumer care complaint, dimension etc,” the statement said.
Among other key changes, the government has increased the fontsize of letters and numerals for making declaration so that consumers can easily read the same. The net quantity checking is made more scientific, with introduction of e-coding. Bar Code/QR Coding is allowed on voluntary basis.
On medical devices like stent, valve, orthopaedic implants, syringe and tools for operations etc, the government said, “consumers were facing difficulty as prices of devices were sold according to the paying capacity of the consumer. Even after capping MRP, many companies were not displaying.”
“Also, there are important declarations other than MRP that need to be displayed, are brought into the purview of declarations to be made under the rules,” it said.The definition of institutional consumer has been changed to prevent any scope for commercial transactions/retail sale of commodities sourced by the institution for their own use.
The provisions regarding declarations on Food Products have been harmonized with labelling regulations under the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006.