What is MRP?

MRP or maximum retail price is the price beyond which a packaged product cannot be sold to a consumer. The maximum price of any commodity in the packaged form includes all taxes local or otherwise, transport charges, and any other costs incurred by the manufacturer or seller.

The Centre regulates MRP to prevent retailers from overcharging customers. The Price Monitoring Division in the Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for monitoring the prices of 22 essential commodities. It monitors the retail and wholesale prices of essential products on a daily basis.

Why was MRP launched?

The MRP was introduced in 1990 by the Department of Legal Metrology, Ministry of Civil Supplies by making an amendment to the Standards of Weights and Measures Act (Packaged Commodities Rules), 1976. It was meant to prevent tax evasion and protect consumers from profiteering by retailers.

Earlier, manufacturers had the freedom to print either the maximum retail price (inclusive of all taxes) or the retail price (local taxes extra). The latter method allowed the retailers to often charge more than the locally applicable taxes. The amendment mandated the compulsory printing of MRP on all packaged commodities.

Filing a complaint

If a shopkeeper charges more than the printed MRP, consumers can file a complaint with the Legal Metrology Department in the State where the shop is located. Besides, they can also file complaints at the Consumer Forum in their respective districts.

Selling a packaged product at a price higher than the printed MRP can attract a fine of Rs 25,000 or a jail term. India is the only country in the world to have a system wherein it is punishable by law to charge a price higher than the printed MRP.

However, hotels and restaurants are allowed to charge higher than the MRP of packaged food items. According to a Supreme Court ruling, restaurant and hotels are allowed to sell a packaged product at a higher cost as they provide extra services for their customers such as the ambience and cutlery, etc.

Meanwhile, the retailer is free to fluctuate the selling price as long as it is below or equal to the MRP.

Why are products at airports expensive?

The products at airports are expensive primarily because running a store at the airport is an expensive affair. Here, the retailers have to pay a high rent which is then added to the final price of the product. Another reason is that as airports are high-security zones, the workforce have to undergo daily background checks and training in security measures. This leads to a product price surge.

Picture Credit : Google

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