Central Consumer

Central Consumer
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS, FOOD & PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
KRISHI BHAWAN, NEW DELHI

GUIDELINES FOR SEEKING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM CONSUMER WELFARE FUND

BACKGROUND

The Central Excise and Salt Act. 1944 (1 of 1944) was amended in 1991 to enable the Central Government to create the Consumer Welfare Fund where the money which is not refundable to the manufacturers etc. shall be credited. The money credited to the Fund is to be utilized by the Central Government for the welfare of the consumers in accordance with the Rules framed.
The Consumer Welfare Fund Rules were notified on 25th November, 1992. Subsequently, on the recommendations of the Central Consumer Protection Council, the Rules were further amended on 27th January, 1994 to make them more broad based. The rules were further amended on 16.06.94, 16.01.95 and 12.6.2002.
The Fund has been set up by the Department of Revenue. However, it will be operated by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Department of Consumer Affairs.

OBJECTIVE

The overall objective of the Consumer Welfare Fund is to provide financial assistance to promote and protect the welfare of the consumers and strengthen the voluntary consumer movement in the country particularly in the rural areas.

PROCEDURE FOR APPLYING FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

The applicant, who is desirous to seek financial assistance from the Consumer Welfare Fund, is required to apply in the prescribed proforma (Form-Al) provided in the Consumer Welfare Fund Rules, 1992. The application should be addressed to
The Member Secretary Committee (Consumer Welfare Fund)
Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Department of Consumer Affairs, KrishiBhawan, New Delhi – 110 001

The applicant should furnish annual reports and audited statements of accounts for the last 3 years, separately for each year, list of members and other information as required under the Consumer Welfare Fund Rules. He will be required to furnish photocopies of all documents attached with application duly attested by a gazetted officer of the Central/State Government. The audited accounts statements of the organization must bear the registration number and official seal/stamp of the Chartered Accountant.
Applications need not be routed through the State Government as a rule but the Ministry may refer the applications as and when necessary for enquiry and obtain remarks from the State Governments.

ELIGIBILITY

The following are eligible for assistance:-

1. Any agency/ organization engaged in the consumer welfare activities for a period of three years and registered under the Companies Act. 1956 (1 of 1956) or under any law for the time being in force.

Note: Preference will be given to the Organizations having reputation and experience of all India nature. In case of a group of organizations approaching the Fund with a common project, one organization may function as mother unit and it should not be necessary for all the participants to separately fulfil the condition of three years.

2. Village/ Mandal/ Samities level cooperatives of consumers especially of women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

3. Any industry as defined in the Industrial Disputes Act. 1947 (14 of 1947) which has been engaged in viable and useful research activities for a period of 5 years which has made, or is likely to make, significant contribution in formulation of standard mark of the products of mass consumption.

4. State Government.

5. Central Government.

6. A consumer for the purpose of reimbursement of legal expenses in a consumer dispute.

EXTENT OF ASSISTANCE

The total quantum of assistance on an individual application will not exceed Rs. 5 lakhs. Assistance will be limited to 90% of the approved cost. However, in exceptional cases, 100% assistance can be considered. The quantum of assistance will be decided by Committee constituted under Rule 5 of the Consumer Welfare Fund Rules.

Preference will be given to organizations having an all India character and those working in rural areas and having larger participation of women.

Purpose

The financial assistance will be given mainly for the following purposes:-

Production and distribution of literature and audio-visual material for spreading consumer literacy and awareness building programmes for consumer education.

Setting up facilities for training and research in consumer education and related matters on national/regional basis;

Community based rural awareness projects;

Setting up of complaint handling/ counselling/ guidance mechanisms like Consumer Guidance Bureau;
Setting up of Consumer Product Testing Laboratories.

Building up infrastructural facilities for organizing consumer education activities on a permanent basis at the district/ taluk level;

For purposes indicated in Rule 8 of the Consumer Welfare Fund Rules; and
The projects not covered by the above, but in the opinion of the Standing Committee, can tackle pressing social problems and maximize consumer welfare.

COMPONENTS

The following items may qualify for assistance:-

Construction of building excluding staff quarters

Purchase of equipment

Purchase of furniture

Charges for delivery of services;

Other charges as may be considered necessary by the Standing Committee for the proper running of the programme/ project.

Note: Payment of salaries of staff on recurring basis will not be considered as a general rule but appointment of some trained/ professional staff as an integral part of the project may be considered in deserving cases for a limited period. However, such expenditure should not exceed 15% of the total project cost and may be considered depending on the nature of the project.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

(i) The Fund should not be used for party or political propaganda.

(ii) Quarterly reports of the progress/ implementation of the project should be submitted to
the Ministry regularly with due intimation to the concerned State Government.

(iii) The organization shall maintain a record of all assets acquired wholly; or substantially out of financial assistance given from the Consumer Welfare Fund. Such assets shall not be disposed off, encumbered or utilized for purpose other than those for which the grants were given without prior sanction of the Government of India. Should the organization cease to exist at any time, such assets will revert to the Government of India.

THE CONSUMER WELFARE FUND RULES, 1992

G.S.R. 895 (E) – In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of Section 37, read with Section 12D of the Central Excise and Salt Act. 1944 (1 of 1944). the Central Government hereby makes the following rules, namely:-
1. Short title and commencement:

(i) These rules may be called the Consumer Welfare Fund Rules, 1992.

(ii) These rules shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

2. Definitions: In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires, –

(a) “Act” means the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944 (1 of 1944), or, as the case may be, the Customs Act 1962 (52 of 1962) ;

(b) “Applicant” means any agency/ organization engaged in consumer welfare activities for a period of three years registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) or under any other law for the time being in force, including village/ mandal/samiti/ samiti level co-operatives of consumers especially Women, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, or any industry as defined in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (14 of 1947) recommended by Bureau to be engaged for a period of five years in viable and useful research activity which has made or is likely to make, significant contribution in formulation of standard mark of the products of mass consumption, or the Central Government or the State Government, and includes a consumer for the purpose of reimbursing legal expenses as referred to in clause (d) of rule -8 of these rules;

*Principal rules were published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No. 29/92 Central Excise (N.T.) dated 25.1 1.1992 (G.S.R. 895(E) dated 25.11.92)

Substituted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules. 1994 published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No. 3/94 – Central Excise (NT) dated 27.1.94 (G.S.R. No. 33 (E) dated 27.1.94)

Substituted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 2002 published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No.23/2002 – Central Excise (NT) dated 13th June, 2002 (G.S.R. No. 430 (E) dated 13.6.2002)

(c) “Application” means an application in Form-Al. appended to these rules;

(d) “Bureau” means the Bureau of Indian Standards constituted under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 (63 of 1986);

(e) “Central Consumer Protection Council” means the Central Consumer Protection Council, established under sub-section (1) of section 4 of the Consumer Protection Act. 1986 (68 of 1986), for promotion and protection of the rights of consumers;

(f) “Committee” means the Committee constituted under rule 5;

(g) “Consumer” has the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (d) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (68 of 1986), and includes consumer of goods on which duty has been paid;

(h) Consumer Welfare Fund ” means the Fund established by the Central Government under sub-section (1) of section 12C of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944 (1 of 1944):

(i) “Duty” means the duty paid under the Act;

(i) (a) “Proper Officer” means the officer having the power under the Act to make an order that the whole or any part of the duty is refundable.

(j) “Standard mark” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in clause (t) of section 2 of the Bureau of Indian Standards Act. 1986 (68 of 1986)

(k) “Welfare of the Consumer” Includes promotion and protection of rights of consumers;

Inserted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 1994 w.e.f. 27.1.1994 published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No. 3/94 – Central Excise (N.T.) dated 17.1.94 G.S.R. No. 33 (E) dated 27.1.94).

(1) Words and expression used in the rules and not defined, but defined in the Consumer Protection Act. 1986 (68 of 1986) shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in that Act.

3. Establishment of Consumer Welfare Fund:-

There shall be established a Consumer Welfare Fund with the Central Government into which credits of amount of duty and income from investment along with other monies specified in subsection (2) of section 12C of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944 (1 of 1944) shall be accredited;

Provided that any amount having been credited to the Fund is ordered or directed as payable to any claimant by orders of proper officer, appellate authority or court, shall be paid from the Fund.

4. Maintenance of accounts and records of Consumer Welfare Fund:-

Proper and separate accounts in relation to the Consumer Welfare Fund shall be maintained by the Central Government and shall be subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

5. Constitution of the Committee:-

(1) The Committee constituted by the Central Government under sub-rule (2), shall make recommendations for proper utilization of the money credited to the Consumer Welfare Fund for the welfare of the consumers to carry out the purpose of these rules.

(2) The Committee shall consist of the following members, namely,

(a) The Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, who shall be the Chairman of the Committee;

(b) Secretary, Department of Expenditure in the Ministry of Finance or the Financial Adviser, Department of Consumer Affairs in the Ministry of Food, Civil Supplies and Public Distribution, who shall be the Vice-Chairman of the Committee;

(c) Chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs or an officer not below the rank of a Joint Secretary in the Department of Revenue of the Ministry of Finance;

(d) Member (Central Excise) of the Central Board of Excise and Customs or an officer not below the rank of a Joint Secretary in the Department of Revenue of Ministry of Finance;

(e) Secretary/ Joint Secretary/Economic Adviser (Monitoring), Department of Rural Development;

(f) Director General. Bureau of Indian Standards;

(g) The Additional Secretary/ Joint Secretary in charge of Consumer Welfare Fund, in the Department of Consumer Affairs, who shall also be the Member Secretary of the Committee.

Substituted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 2002 published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No.23/2002 – Central Excise (NT) dated 13th June, 2002 (G.S.R. No. 430 (E) dated 13.6.2002)

Substituted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 2002 published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No.23/2002 – Central Excise (NT) dated 13th June, 2002 (G.S.R. No. 430 (E) dated 13.6.2002)

Substituted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 2002 published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No.23/2002 – Central Excise (NT) dated 13th June, 2002 (G.S.R. No. 430 (E) dated 13.6.2002)

Substituted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 2002 published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No.23/2002 – Central Excise (NT) dated 13th June, 2002 (G.S.R. No. 430 (E) dated 13.6.2002)

Inserted by Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 1994, published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No. 25/94 – Central Excise (N.T.) dated 16.6.94 (G.S.R.No. 515(E) dated 16.6.94)

Inserted by Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 1995, published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No. 01/95 – Central Excise (N.T.) dated 16.1.95 (G.S.R.No. 29(E) dated 16.1.95).

Provided that the Chairman or Vice – Chairman, as the case may be, may invite representatives of the State Government concerned and a nominee of the Consumer Co-ordination Council to the meetings, as and when necessary.

(3) The Committee shall be a Standing Committee.

6. Procedure for conduct of businesses:-

(1) The Committee shall meet as and when necessary, but not more than three months shall intervene between any two meetings.

(2) The Committee shall meet at such time and place as the Chairman, or in his absence the Vice – Chairman of the Committee may deem fit.

(3) The meeting of the Committee shall be presided over by the Chairman, and in the absence of the Chairman, the Vice – Chairman, shall preside over the meetings of the Committee.

(4) Each meeting of the Committee shall be called, by giving notice in writing to every member of not less than ten days from the date of issue of such notice.

(5) Every notice of the meeting of the Committee shall specify the place and the day and hour of the meeting and shall contain statement of business to be transacted thereat.

(6) No proceeding of the Committee shall be valid, unless it is presided over by the Chairman or Vice – Chairman and a minimum of three other members are present.
lnserted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 1994 w.e.f. 27.1.94
Heading substituted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 1994, published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No. 3/94 – Central Excise (N.T.) dated 27.1.94 (G.S.R. No. 33 (E) dated 27.1.94)
Inserted by Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 1995, published in the Gazette of India vide Notification No. 01/95 – Central Excise (N.T.) dated 16.1.95 (G.S.R. No. 29(E) dated 16.1.95)

7. Powers and Functions of the Committee :-

(i) The Committee shall have power:-

(a) to require any applicant to produce before it, or a duly authorized officer of the Central Government, or, as the case may be the State Government, such books, accounts, documents, instruments or commodities in custody and control of the applicant, as may be necessary for proper evaluation of the application;

(b) to require any applicant to allow entry and inspection of any premises from which activities claimed to be for the welfare of Consumers, are stated to be carried on, to a duly authorized officer of Central Government or, as the case may be, State Government;

(c) to get the accounts of the applicants audited, for ensuring proper utilization of the grant.

(d) to require any applicant, in case of any default, or suppression of material information on his part, to refund in lump-sum, the sanctioned grant to the Committee, and to be subject to prosecution under the Act;

(e) to recover any sum due from any applicant in accordance with the provision of the Act;

(f) to require any applicant, or class of applicants to submit a periodical report indicating proper utilization of the grant;

(g) to reject an application placed before it on the basis of involvement of factual inconsistency, or inaccuracy in the material particulars;

(h) to recommend minimum financial assistance, by way of grant to an applicant, having regard to his financial status, and importance and utility of nature of activity under pursuit, after ensuring that the financial assistance provided shall not be misutilized;

(i) to require Central Consumer Protection Council or the Bureau, to formulate broad guidelines for considering the projects/ proposals for the purpose of incurring expenditure from the Consumer Welfare Fund;

(j) to identify beneficial and safe sectors, where investments out of Consumer Welfare Fund may be made and make recommendations, accordingly.

(k) to relax the conditions required for the period of engagement in consumer welfare activities of an applicant as specified in clause (b) of rule 2;

(l) to make guidelines for the management and administration of the Consumer Welfare Fund.

(2) The Committee shall not consider an application, unless it has been inquired into, in material details and recommended for consideration accordingly, by the Member Secretary.

8. Specification of Purposes for utilization of Credits available in Consumer Welfare Fund:-

The Committee shall make recommendations:-

(a) for making available grants to any applicant;
(b) for making available grant recommended by the Bureau for activities relating to standard marks, which may be considered essential by the Central Government, for the welfare of the Consumers;
(c) for investment of the money available in the Consumer Welfare Fund;
(d) for making available grants, (on a selective basis) for reimbursing legal expenses incurred by a complainant, or class of complainants in a consumer dispute, after its final adjudication;
(e) for making available grants for any other purpose recommended by the Central Consumer Protection Council, (as may be considered appropriate by the Committee)

Inserted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 1994 w.e.f. 27. 1.94. Substituted by the Consumer Welfare Fund (Amendment) Rules, 1994, (G.S.R. No. 33 (E) dated 27.1.94).

FORM-AI
(See rule 8 of Consumer Welfare Fund Rules, 1992)

Important : Please fill up this form, furnishing correct details sought for based on verifiable true state of affairs without causing suppression of any material information which, if resorted to, shall entail prosecution under the Act.

Note : All applications must be submitted along with their enclosures in duplicate duly attested by any gazetted officer of the Central or State Government.

1. Name and Full Postal Address of the applicant :

2. Status of the applicant under clause (b) of rule 2 :

3. Date of establishment:

4. Whether registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860(21 of 1860) or any other relevant Act :

5. If Yes, number and year of registration (Attested copy of registration certificate to be enclosed) :

6. Whether the organization is of national/ state level :

7. Number of Managing Committee members together with list of names, addresses and occupation of the office bearers

8. Brief details of the organizations, objectives and activities during the last three years

9. Purpose for which the amount is required (Please state the details of the project and its proposed implementation)

10. Amount of grant required – item wise details under non – recurring to be enclosed

1 1. Time schedule of the activities arranged

12. The total amount incurred/ invested by the applicant, or likely to be incurred by the applicant

13. Sources of funding of balance amount whether the organization is getting financial assistance from any other official/ non-official source. If yes, give details

14. Details of prosecution, if any in a court of law launched against the applicant, during the last five years :

15. Copies of the following documents (duly attested by a gazetted officer of the Central or State Government to be attached

(i) Constitution of the origination and Articles of Association

(ii) Annual reports of the organization for last three years (please furnish separate Annual Reports for each year)

(iii) Annual Audited Statement of accounts for each of the last 3 years duly signed by Chartered Accountant. These Statements must bear the registration number and official seal or stamp of the Chartered Accountant.

16. Details of previous grants, if any, taken from this Department.

DECLARATION
(To be signed by the applicant or its authorized agent)

The particulars heretofore given, are true and correct. Nothing material has been suppressed. It is certified that I/ we have read the guidelines, terms and conditions governing the scheme and undertake to abide by them on behalf of our organization/ institution, the financial assistance, if provided, shall be put to the declared use, for promotion and protection of rights of consumers or for standard marks. (Strike out whichever is inapplicable).

APPLICANT

Dated: ________________

Station: _______________

To

Member Secretary
Committee (Consumer Welfare Fund)
KrishiBhawan
New Delhi

Recommendation of Member-Secretary

Factual details furnished in the application have been verified in consultation with Ministry/Department or agency who is/are administratively concerned in the matter and found to be correct/incorrect. The claims of the applicant are recommended for consideration by the Committee (Please give reasons in support of your recommendation)

Member-Secretary Committee
(Consumer Welfare Fund)

Recommendation of the Committee
Recommended for grant of Rs ………………………………………… Rupees
…………………………………………………… (in words) from the Consumer
Welfare Fund as discussed in the meeting held on ………………….. (date)

Chairman
Committee

FOR CENTRAL/STATE GOVERNMENT/DEPARTMENTS/BODIES
REVISEDFORM A-l

1. Name, description and full postal address of the Applicant :

2. Purpose for which the amount is required:

3. Amount of grant required :

4. Time Schedule of the activities arranged:

5. Details of previous grants, if any:
taken from the Consumer Welfare Fund/
Dept. of Consumer Affairs

Signature of Applicant

Dated : ________________

Station : _______________

To

Member Secretary
Committee (Consumer Welfare Fund)
KrishiBhawan,
New Delhi.