Mumbai, June 30: Come 2018, you might not have to pay higher for a bottle of mineral water in malls and cinema halls, thanks to a government directive against differential pricing. The order is a part of the changes in Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, which will come into effect from January 2018. The changes were made after scores of consumers complained about having to pay steep prices for commodities at malls, airports and cinema halls.

According to a report in Economic Times, the changes are being implemented from next year, to give manufacturers a breather and enough time to get their MRPs in line with the new rules. The report also quoted a consumer affairs officer as saying, “Based on the experience of implementation of the rules and after a detailed stakeholder consultation, the department has amended the rules, aimed at enhanced consumer protection, but at the same time balancing with the requirement of ease of doing business.”

A statement on the change clearly specified that no person is allowed to charge different prices for the same packaged product, unless allowed under any other law. “This will benefit consumers at large as they are having complaint regarding dual MRP for item depending upon different type of public places like cinema hall, airport, malls etc.”, added the statement.

 Moreover, the order also says that the size of numerals and letters should also be increased, to allow consumers to spot the price declaration clearly. The ET report said that MRP declaration has also been made mandatory for medical devices like stents, syringes and operation tools, etc, with the aim of making the consumer aware about the real price of the tools being used in their medical treatment. The move has been welcomed by some manufacturers of medical equipment.

Rajiv Nath of the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry told Economic Times, “This will ensure that hospitals and chemists do not have a blank cheque to charge patients indiscriminately because the products did not carry an MRP on their label earlier.”