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Consumer panels to get tech help for faster delivery of orders

New Delhi, Sep 10, 2022

Soon consumer commission presidents and members won’t have to be fully dependent on stenographers to type the orders. The consumer affairs ministry has floated a tender to engage a consultant for developing a technology for accurate speech recognition and machine learning system.

This comes barely months after different consumer commission members had flagged to the ministry how poor quality stenographers had become an impediment to quick delivery of orders by the commissions. Citing that on several occasions, they end up correcting the orders 3-4 times after dictating them, which consumes time, they had urged the government to ensure they get quality manpower and support staff.

A ministry official said the proposed project comprises two verticals. Vertical-1 is the speech-to-text software and vertical-2 is the integration of machine learning within the software. “Speech-to-text is the need of the hour for the efficient disposal of consumer cases. There is an enormous pendency of cases at the district, state, and national level. The objective is to reduce the pendency at a consistent rate. Therefore, a speech-to-text software is required to accurately convert the dictation of the commission president and members into orders that can be readily uploaded after one review,” the ministry said.

It added that simply providing a speech-to-text software would not address the issue and so a machine learning system shall be needed to be integrated within the speech-to-text software to inculcate the frequently-used vocabulary in the commissions for improving the accuracy of the software over time.

According to official data, around six lakh consumer complaints are pending before the national, state and district commissions despite the rate of disposal being around 89 per cent.
Speaking at the national workshop on consumer commissions, Justice Deepa Sharma, a member at National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) had said while the government wanted fast disposal of complaints and the commissions were also keen to do so, they were not getting quality manpower and support staff. She had said the issue of strengthening the infrastructure has not been addressed adequately even as the commissions have got additional tasks.

Several presidents and members of the state and district commissions had also pointed out inadequate and poor quality stenographers.

[The Times of India]

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