CAG came into existence on 7 October 1985 as a non-profit, non-political, non-religious, voluntary and professional citizens group based in Chennai, India. S. Govind Swaminadhan, legal practitioner and former Advocate General of the State of Tamil Nadu, was our founding trustee. Our initial trustees included S. Guhan (former Finance Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu), S.L.Rao (former Chairman, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission), Shyamala Nataraj (development journalist with the South India Aids Action Program) and Sriram Panchu (Senior Advocate).
Main objectives of CAG are:
- To consolidate the commanding position of consumers in the working of the economic system
- To protect and promote consumer interest and satisfaction
- To make consumers aware of their rights and responsibilities
- To secure the effective use of the legal process to remedy public grievances
- To seek improvement in the areas of public health and safety, services, public utilities and the environment
- To create and mobilize public opinion to enhance public participation in governance
The Group was originally christened Consumer Action Group. After nearly a decade of our existence, we decided to change it to CAG (Citizen consumer and civic Action Group), keeping in mind the larger role that groups such as ours have to play. Specifically, issues affecting the common citizen such as extreme pollution, lack of access to information, poor quality health care and civic amenities have emerged as priorities in the work undertaken by CAG. CAG’s contributions towards consumer protection has been recognised by the Government of India who awarded us the National Award for Consumer Protection in 1989 (Second Prize) and 1991 (First Prize).
Vision & Mission
Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) is a non-profit, non-political and professional organisation that works towards protecting citizens' rights in consumer and environmental issues and promoting good governance processes including transparency, accountability and participatory decision-making.
At CAG, we have always believed that collective voice reaches farther than the voice of an individual. We have found that it is extremely tough for an individual to work on all these issues, and therefore for a sustainable holistic solution we felt that we need an organisation to co-ordinate and voice the grievances of the public – to make the change. And therefore at the core of our work is our belief that effective consumer representation is critical for good governance.
Though under Indian law, the definition of a consumer is limited to one who pays for goods or services, at CAG we adopt a larger definition of consumers – that of the citizen-consumer, including those who use, but cannot pay for basic utilities and services.
As is well known, consumers across the world have eight basic rights, as listed by Consumers International:
- the right to satisfaction of basic needs
- the right to safety
- the right to be informed
- the right to choose
- the right to be heard
- the right to redress
- the right to consumer education
- the right to a healthy environment
Beginning 1985, CAG has kept pace with the new challenges arising for consumers – from basic problems relating to defective goods and services, to investor protection, power and telecom sector reforms and monitoring the growth of e-commerce. Despite this increased role in consumer protection, we have retained as our central focus, the requirement to make critical interventions to create consumer awareness, to protect our natural environment and to function as an effective citizens’ monitoring group.
If you face a consumer problem relating to the quality of a product or service and the fairness of cost; or
You are concerned about quality of life issues in Chennai – the noise, the lack of cleanliness in public areas, inadequate drainage, traffic congestion, bad roads, lack of planning, absence of lung spaces, misuse of open spaces and the destruction of the environment; or
You want to work on issues relating to transparency, fairness and efficiency in government functioning; or
You are concerned about the ineffective and unfair operation of the market economy, and want to work on issues relating to excessive consumption and misleading information; or
You are looking for a group of professional, well-informed, organised and committed individuals to address these and related public interest issues, then you need to contact CAG.