E 15/A, First Floor, East of Kailash, New Delhi – 110065, India
Tel: +91-11-40537140 Website: www.consumerconexion.org
A Brief Write-up on the Activities of Consumer Online Foundation
Consumer Online Foundation (COF) is a registered not-for-profit TRUST and working since 2003. The trust works out of the premises rented by the Trustees in South Delhi. The Trust has been working with Government of India and other international non-governmental organisations and is a member of the Consumer Coordination Council, a national coalition of more than 70 leading consumer organisations of the country. COF has implemented and conceptualized several projects for the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers and also founded several important projects for the development sector with focus on consumer’s Right to Quality and Safety in the Healthcare related activities. In September 2010 it founded the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) India www.safemedicinesindia.in
The Trust has been working with the Government at the Central and State level on several projects and has conceptualized and founded several important projects for various organisations since 2003. The Trustees of Consumer Online Foundation (COF) Mr. Joseph Pookkatt, Advocate at the Supreme Court of India and Mr. Bejon Misra, International Consumer Expert are considered knowledgeable on consumer protection policies with technical competence of international standards on management and legal issues. They have vast experience in the consumer movement in India and have successfully conducted several projects and campaigns on consumer’s rights by engaging team of professionals and consumer organisations of repute.
Mr. Bejon Misra, Founder Trustee of COF has more than 30 years of involvement in the consumer movement; to know more about him and the organisations he has been involved with, please visit www.bejonmisra.com or www.consumerconexion.org. He has been recognized as a resource person internationally on Quality Management Systems in the Healthcare delivery system, tobacco legislation and policies for protecting the rights of the consumers. He participated at the first Public Hearing on Tobacco organized by WHO in 2000 and attended all the six intergovernmental negotiations on FCTC apart from WHO Executive Board Meetings and the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer on behalf of Consumers International from 2000 to 2006. He has been also organizing events along with various consumer organisations to build awareness about the harms caused due to tobacco addiction and has strong advocacy skills on tobacco control regulations and policies. COF has been monitoring the activities of the tobacco industry in India and globally and was successful in intervening on tax policies and law enforcement through public interest litigations. COF is also managing several helplines on public issues to empower the consumers and sound alerts on health and safety.
The Consumer Online Foundation® (COF) is a registered Trust in New Delhi, India (registration No. 8751/4 dated 24/6/2003) working to motivate Central, State and local governments to adopt and encourage new communication and e-governance strategies in order to empower the common consumers, especially the poor and disadvantaged consumers living in rural India, to assert their rights responsibly and introduce transparency in public and private enterprises supported by public and private investments/funds.
The Board of Trustees of COF comprises of senior consumer activists, senior journalists, legal professionals and academicians. COF believes that new communication tools and E-Governance Solutions should be harnessed to ensure better knowledge dissemination especially among the marginalized sections of the society.
To achieve its objectives, the COF has adopted a four-pronged strategy of providing-
(i) Research support;
(ii) Information dissemination;
(iii) Advocacy support; and
(iv) Litigation support to achieve its mandate.
COF is managed out of two offices in the heart of the New Delhi city, one of which is owned by the trustees themselves. The COF manages one of the country’s largest resource centers on Consumer law and policy in India and its dedicated band of researchers have been involved in addressing various legal remedies affecting consumers.
The COF has computers and staff for ensuring its objectives. The Foundation is managed by Trustees in a voluntary capacity. Apart from the trustees, the Foundation receives the support of advocates, computer specialists and several technicians.
1) COF has spear headed several public interest litigations including the PILs on following issues of public importance-
(i) Against the banning of Internet E-groups like yahoo; Consumer Online Foundation vs. Union of India- Delhi High Court
(ii) improper implementation of the FM radio policy; Consumer Online Foundation vs. UOI- TRAI
(iii) the arbitrary introduction of the Conditional Access System(CAS) (Consumer Online Foundation vs. Union of India- Delhi High Court ); and
(iv) PIL on excise exemption for the Tobacco industry (Bejon Misra vs. Union of India- Delhi High Court )
2) The Consumer Online Foundation is responsible for the foundation, development and management of the CORE Centre (www.core.nic.in), the Consumer Online Research and Empowerment Centre funded by the Ministry of Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs, Government of India. The website and complaint sections of the CORE Centre are run and maintained out of the websites of Consumer Online Foundation.
3) Apart from that, COF distributes fortnightly newsletters to nearly 30000 subscribers on various consumer issues of grave public importance.
4) COF has in the last three years launched at least 45 campaigns – all of which have been documented in the internet or on court records before diverse forums like the Supreme Court of India, the Delhi High Court, The TRAI and the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
The following are the key objectives of COF.
1) Integration of all Consumer Organisations
COF is working as an advisor to various trade and industry bodies like FICCI, CII and others. This would enable COF to help integrate the various groups working on consumer empowerment as a common institution and bring consumer related issues in focus within business.
2) Raising the membership of the Newsletter to 500000
COF distributes fortnightly newsletters to nearly 30000 subscribers on various consumer issues of grave public importance. COF proposes to raise consumer awareness by raising the subscription drive of the newsletter to healthy half a million subscribers.
3) Work with the Government on E-governance
COF hopes to continue its work with the Central, State and local governments to encourage them to adopt and encourage new communication and e-governance strategies with use of modern technology in order to introduce transparency and accountability in public services with special emphasis on public health service delivery.
Besides, our Officials have also been managing on behalf of Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers a Toll Free Helpline for Jan Aushadhi (Generic Medicine) from February 2009 till date and also a 24 x 7 Helpline for Tobacco Control to enable citizens to report on violations of the law to the Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare from December 2008 onwards.
The Founder Trustee of the Organisation, Mr. Bejon Misra, is involved in the Consumer Movement for the last 30 years and has been working on empowerment of consumers on various issues concerning Education, Health and Food. He was also a Member of the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India since 2008 and has been successful in bringing several policy changes in the interest of the consumer on food safety and standards.
If you wish to know more about our activities, please do not hesitate to call us or seeking more information and clarifications from our websites www.bejonmisra.com and www.consumerconexion.org.
ABOUT PARTNERSHIP FOR SAFE MEDICINES (PSM) INDIA:
Ten percent of global pharmaceutical commerce involves counterfeit drugs equating to $21 billion – and hundreds of thousands of lives are lost each year due to fake medicines. PSM India Initiative brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, including consumer advocates, industry leaders and government officials, to protect and educate Indian citizens while establishing policies and procedures to curb this crisis. Founded in September and launched in December 2010, PSM India is the first global alliance organization of the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) based out of Washington DC, USA. It was established to educate consumers and identify and implement meaningful solutions to address the global counterfeit and spurious drug epidemic. To know more about PSM, please visit the website www.safemedicines.org. PSM India is led by Mr. Bejon Misra, Founder Trustee of the Consumer Online Foundation and is the official contractual secretariat for PSM. He is also the founder and trustee of Healthy You Foundation; and the Chairman of Cell for Consumer Education & Advocacy based in New Delhi, India. The organization is comprised of more than a dozen organizations representing patients, consumers and the medical community. The goals of PSM India are:
• To raise public awareness of the harms to patient safely caused by spurious drugs
• To inform consumers and distributors of medicines in the community the existence and extent of spurious drug problem
• To work collaboratively with the medical community
• To educate Indian consumers on the importance of drug quality, how to identify suspected spurious drugs, and what actions to take when they encounter a suspected case
• To educate community healthcare practitioners in drugstores and health centers on the problem of spurious drugs and what role they can play to lessen the problem
As part of the coalition’s efforts, PSM India operates a toll-free helpline (1800-11-4424), operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that consumers can call if they have questions, think they have received a spurious drug, or to report an incidence of counterfeit medicines being sold. PSM India is becoming a trusted go-to resource in India that can help consumers, medical professionals, pharmacists and the government navigate the increasingly complex and dangerous world of spurious drugs. Learn more about PSM India by visiting www.safemedicinesindia.in or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Solving consumer queries with the help of technology by running toll free helplines relating to Generic Medicines and Tobacco Law.