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Has Amul taken advantage of liberal packaging-rule and hiked price of cow milk by 22 per cent?
Famous 'Amul' brand of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF) seems to have taken advantage of faulty rules of Packaged Commodities Act when it suddenly hiked price of its cow milk by 22 per cent because of lacuna of packaging-rules allowing too much liberality in packing of commodities.

Earlier, a 500-mililitre pouch of 'Amul' cow milk had Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of Rs 21. But now in a gimmick packaging-trick usually adopted by normal private manufacturers, Amul has reduced price of cow milk to Rs.20, but at the same time also reduced contents to 400-mililitres thereby hiking net MRP by about 22 per cent.

Consumers normally do not care to look into nearing pack-sizes like 400 and 500 units. Advertisement about 'Amul' cow milk highlighted MRP of Rs.20 prominently, but keeping a small font for the pack-size! It is noteworthy that 'Mother Dairy' is still marketing cow milk at Rs.20 per 500-mililitre pouch.

The Union government should urgently make appropriate changes in Packaged Commodities Act to check menace of gimmick packaging by manufacturers to cheat consumers.

It should be made compulsory to pack all packaged commodities only in packs of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 gms/mltrs/kgs/ltrs to avoid gimmick packaging to befool consumers by manufacturers.

Goods packed by numbers should likewise be only in packs of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and similar multiples of 1000 abolishing packing by dozens etc.

Even medicines should be packed in such suggested units except exemption is taken from competent authority for some dose-wise administration.

Even commonly advertised medicines like cough-lozenges are at times packed in strips of eight instead of normal ten, because consumers usually judge price of medicine on per strip basis.

(Subhash Chandra Agrawal is a noted RTI activist)

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