The government on Tuesday admitted that milk adulteration remained a problem but said steps were being taken to deal with the challenge.
“Milk adulteration is a problem and we are trying to help out,” Minister of State for Consumer Affairs C.R. Chaudhary told the Lok Sabha.
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the government had already moved a Bill to amend the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. “The new bill addresses some of these issues,” Paswan said.
The remarks came after Congress MP Shashi Tharoor alleged that the National Survey of 2011 found that “over 60 percent of the milk produced in India is adulterated, eight per cent by detergents”.
“Then we have urea, starch and formalin, all of which are going into our milk. Milk is drunk by children, pregnant women, by elderly people. It is a matter of national concern,” he said.
Tharoor added that the Standing Committee related to the food ministry had come up with a report “but we have not seen any action by the ministry”.
Answering supplementary questions, Minister Chaudhary said about 2.16 crore bogus ration cards had been detected.
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He also said about 60 percent of the ration cards have been linked with Aadhaar cards.
In a written reply, Paswan said grant was given from the Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF) to the states for setting up a corpus fund of Rs 10 crore towards undertaking consumer awareness activities.
BJP member Prahlad Joshi said: “Though people approach consumer forums and consumer courts, delay in justice is still a cause of concern. Adulteration in food, adulteration in milk, adulteration in tea and coffee, adulteration in petrol and diesel, all these things are still happening. People are being duped as far as prices are concerned.”
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Minister Chaudhary said the government has adopted a lot of measures to address the problems of the consumers.
“In the 12th plan, Rs 409.29 crore has been allocated to enlighten the consumers and to push this whole programme forward. Similarly, we have the national consumer helpline,” he said.
The minister said some three lakh complaints were received each year.