Meet the person behind the book...
About the Author

Born in Chennai (Madras), Smt. M. Rajyalakshmi Rao has had a brilliant academic career. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Osmania University, Hyderabad, she took a Master’s degree in Business Administration specializing in Marketing from the same University in 1972. She continued her further studies at the prestigious University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA and obtained the degree of M.S. in Advertising by presenting a thesis on Marketing of Family Planning programmes in rural India. In 1980 she moved to Mumbai where her husband has set up a successful business, including development of the Rewas Port, a joint venture with Shri. Mukesh Ambani.


With an educational background in business management, she could have taken a professional and lucrative career in Advertising or Marketing. However, in view of her background of coming from a family of freedom fighters, Smt. Rao preferred to do voluntary social work mainly in the chosen fields of promotion of consumer rights, consumer protection and consumer education; simultaneously she also actively participated in providing educational facilities to the poor and needy; in promotion of Kuchipudi dance; and in public policy analysis.

Protection of the Consumer

In 1987, Parliament enacted The Consumer Rights Protection Act. Soon after, Smt.Rao was nominated as the Member of the National Consumer Protection Council, constituted by the Government of India, under the Chairmanship of Shri H.D. Shourie, where she was part of a group which presented a paper on “Pricing and its Effects on Consumer”. Recognizing her abiding interest in Consumer movement, Govt of Maharashtra selected her in 1993 as a Member of the Bombay District Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum. Subsequently in 1996, the State Government once again appointed her as a Member of the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Mumbai. In Feb 2000, she was selected by the Government of India as a full time Member of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi, where she is presently working with great distinction.


She is the only women, the only person who worked at all the three levels of consumer grievances redressal mechanism, namely on the District forum, on the State Commission and on the National Commission. She has thus, the unique and singular distinction of experience of the problems of consumers from the grass root level to the national level, which in turn enriched her work with a broad vision and perspective. She in particular, specialized in cases relating to medical negligence, insurance sector, construction business, and telecom services. Out of the total 20 years since the enactment of the Consumer Rights Protection Act in the country, she has spent over 17 years on the Bench, which again is unique and unparalleled. Her judgments are guided by the basic philosophy that the CRP Act is a benevolent legislation and that the objective of the Act should not be defeated by relying on mere technicalities.

Author

She is the author of the popular book “Consumer is King!! Know your Rights & Remedies”, which has already been accepted by the consumer as a guide-book in knowing their rights, and in the legal sphere as a good case study book for Consumer Rights. The book has been released in Nov 2008 by the Chief Justice of India, and has since been launched in Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai in English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Telugu and to be launched in 5 more languages.

Culture

In addition to her abiding interests in consumer movement, she is actively involved in promotion of Art (Painting) and in Kuchipudi dance and in providing educational facilities to the poor and needy, details of which are not listed here due to space constraints. A mention has however to be made to the ‘Kuchipudi Kala Kendra’ Mumbai, set up by her, where every year 200 young persons are trained in classical dance at subsidized fees.

Social Work & Philanthropy

She has setup the Meka Achutharamaiah Memorial Hospital, Aryavattam, Andhra Pradesh for rural healthcare and is currently setting up a 225 bed hospital in Mumbai which will be having 50 Charity beds

She also played a leading role in the resettlement of people affected by Kargil War and the Tsunami, through the NGOs ‘Save the Children’ and ‘Maddat’ in which she is a director. She procured boats for fishermen in Cuddalore affected by the Tsunami, and personally addressed their problems by visiting these areas. She is also actively associated with other NGOs namely, Magic Bus (for street children), and Nishta (for legal empowerment of vulnerable sections of society), Delhi.


During her long association with public causes, she worked as:

President of American Alumni Association and helped bright children who are needy, for pursuing their further studies in the US;

President, Delhi Federation of Deaf Women

Member of Film Censor Board, Mumbai; Member,

Organizing committee of the International Film Festival, Calcutta (1993);

Advisory Board member, NGMA - National Gallery Of Modern Art, Delhi & Mumbai;

Member, National Savings Advisory Board, Maharashtra;

Member, Government of India’s National Steering Committee on Habitat Improvement in India.

Hon. Secretary, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce

Advisory Board member, SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC)


She has been a recipient of many awards for social work, including the Rajiv Gandhi Award For Excellence (1996) and the Hind Rattan-Sword of Honour at the 13th International Congress of NRIs in Bahrain (Nov.1996) presented by Ali Saleb Al Salehi, Minister of Commerce, State of Bahrain.